Google corrects typo

I reported the Google typo yesterday and it has been fixed now, Mbps it is. No change to their “free” tier of service though, so 5Mbps it is.

I got a lot of feedback on my “negativity” over this, both on the neighborhood forum, the comment below, and via personal email. And yes, being able to pay the $300 fee in installments is a good break. So it looks correct, 5Mbps while useful, really isn’t good enough for a family except for email, facebook and infrequent youtube/netflx.

TWC offer a comparable 6/1Mbps plan for $29+modem/wifi, taxes fees. < Which is non-competitive on price/performance to most of the rest of the world where cable exists, where are 4/1 service costs less than $20 per month, and often as low as $12 per month. Fiber providers are 40/10Mbps packages for $25-$35 per month or better, and thats what I was really hoping we'd see.

Google fiber disappoints on price

displayfile (1).jpegWell Google fiber is on its way, they’ve sprayed marked across our front yards this week ready to install the vaults, most people don’t understand these will be buried in your front yard, after all fiber optic cable isn’t your parents cable.

In other news, Google have announced the Austin pricing and service speeds, and I have to say, it’s pretty disappointing really.

WTF are Mpbs?First up as seen in this screen capture, their website lists speeds in Mpbs. I work in the tech sector, heck I used to be a networking specialist, I admit I have no idea what Mpbs is. So I googled it, and Google asked Did you mean: Mbps

Normally network speeds are indeed listed as Mbps. Megabits per second. Unlike disk/file storage which is most often described as MB, and sometimes MBps megabytes per second. In storage you are storing files and characters, so a byte has a meaning and it’s important to understand. In networking, especially streaming music, tv, video it really doesn’t, so bytes really don’t have any meaning, and Megabits is the norm. Also, Megabits are also in units of 1000, in the old days it was often expressed as 1024 but no longer.

So we really have no idea what Google are offering. Lets assume thats just sloppy web content creation, and that 1,000 Mpbs is really 1,000 Mbps, which is 1-Gigabit, which is what Google have been touting, by coincidence. I’m really left wondering though what their free offering is though? 5 Mbps is really for the most part unusable for anything other than sending email asynchronously. So I assume that should really be 5 MBps, as in megabytes. But as discussed earlier that isn’t really a usable measure, although it’s pretty standard marketing BS from the existing cable cartel companies used to confuse people.

If it is 5-MBps, then it could be 40-Mbps, which would be more usable, either way the web page is a shambles.

Given these assumptions, overall the Google pricing is disappointing. Google are for the most part just joining the existing cable cartel. Yes they are bringing fiber speed but they are really doing nothing to help with pricing. The $300 installation fee for the entry services is a barrier to entry for low income households.

$70 is great for those that can afford it, getting potentially a 100x increase in download speed, if the network inside your house can exploit it. Remember you’ll need gigabit ethernet ports on all your devices, gigabit wifi(which doesn’t exist as a domestic standard) and of course a Google compatible gigabit cable modem and switch.

What is more disappointing is the pricing though. It’s slightly more expensive minus taxes and fees than the TWC Service I’m paying for at the moment.. What about something in between for low income households? $35 a month for 100Mbps?

Disappointing

Net Neutrality and the FCC

Since I’ve complained about the price/performance and lack of choice in wired Internet Broadband here extensively, I thought I’d include a link to a blog post I wrote earlier and posted on my primarily technology blog, where I hope more of the tech community will read and write their own.

If you are even vaguely committed to using the Internet in the future in the United States, you should read the blog, watch the video, and submit your own comments to the FCC. I’d hope they are against the proposal, but I’d rather have contrary comments that disagree with my opinion, than apathy.

In Love with Cable?

The cable industry is in turmoil, customers leaving in droves, and they are being squeezed at the content end and their costs for programming are soaring. It looks like Time Warner Cable is going to get divested, broken up, bought up merged, or something along those lines. Motley Fool posted this analysis that they are not expecting this to lower your bills.

TIme Techland has a write-up on the new cable company promotion web site, “The hole saga” and the state of the cable industry. Author Harry McCraken speculates about the poor performance of the website “one loaded with so much video that it takes an eternity to load”. I did some quick traces using Chrome, it looks like it’s actually designed to be slow, probably to give the appearance that streaming video is a bad idea compared to cable.

I wrote the following in response to Harrys article.

No,  we don’t love cable,  we resent it. Love for cable was back in the 80’s we were both young,  and TV was still exciting,  MTV  was happening,  and the world was opening up.
Now cable is pretty much unchanged,  it hasn’t reduced in price,  while pretty much everything else has(cars, airfares, clothes, food). The number and types of entertainment options have exploded,  content is everywhere. Yet,  like your Dad, in the 70’s, cable still controls what you watch and when. Cable is like an abusive parent. Yeah its out there but we avoid it when we can

I have a choice, or will

 

Graphic by slashgear.com
Graphic by slashgear.com

This application of the City of Austin website indicates that google fiber is coming to my neighborhood, and specifically includes my block. I’m delighted although Google have yet to announce this, and I’ve not seen the pricing or terms and conditions, it can only be a good thing.

TWC Cable and Home Telephone gone

After some procrastination, most due to the real/actual lack of choice, today I cancelled my Time Warner Cable “All the best” subscription and switched to just Internet only. I’m replacing the TV part of the subscription with DISH network, using their Dish America package.

At least according to Time Warner Cable, my Internet will cost $62.10 for the Turbo Internet service, which is what I have now, and claims “Up to 20Mbps” download and “Upload speeds up to 2Mbps”. Once all the change is done, I’ll likely upgrade this to Extreme if the prices are as TWC say they are. I have to get an cable modem to save another $3 per month.

Depending on how DISH network works out, this will mean

$50.30
$62.10
--------
$112.40

versus my new TWC monthly bill of $202.70. The difference of $90.30 will be more than enough to pay for an unlimited data plan with tethering and wireless hotspot with t-mobile, which makes up for a basic TWC Home Phone service. Again, once all this is settled down, I’ll use set-up my Google Voice number as a home phone.

The final step will be to replace my Time Warner Cable Internet service. Currently there are no practical alternatives for my house in south central Austin.

  • AT&T do not provide DSL or similar;
  • Clear is available, but would be limiting when I want to watch or livestream HD and someone else wants to use Voice-over-IP;
  • Grande Communications to not provide service to my street
  • Verizon fios – unavailable in my zipcode

Frankly this lack of competition is appalling, in what is claimed to be one of Americas high tech cities, and allows Time Warner Cable to exist as a complete monopoly.

When the TWC Sales rep was trying to work a deal and keep me as an “All the best” customer, she repeatedly kept saying “I know you are working to a budget”, to which I’d say “No I am not, I can afford to pay for this, I just won’t, your services are good but just over priced”, she either didn’t get it, or her script didn’t have a response path.