Flush with Fiber: High Speed Gigabit Internet Roll-out Continues
When Google first unveiled its 1Gbit fiber Internet service last summer, it seemed unlikely that such speeds would become common anytime soon. However, there was great hope that with Google's pressure, other ISPs would be pushed towards offering their own 1Gbit services. This past April, we did see some evidence of that, with AT&T promising to roll out its own 1Gbit service in the Austin, Texas area.
Things don't stop there. It seems that some of the biggest ISPs are being seriously slow to catch onto the 1Gbit option, with Verizon charging a staggering $210 in some areas for a 300Mbit/s connection. The gotcha here is that the upload is 65Mbit/s (as someone with 0.5Mbit/s home upload, it pains me to write this). Take a look at Arvig, likely an ISP you've never heard of, but it offers a 1Gbit package for $300 per month - and the 1Gbit is bi-directional. Expensive, definitely, but that's what happens when the area being serviced has no competition.
In some places, the offerings can be even cheaper. Vermont Telephone, which services just 17.5K customers, offers gigabit packages for as low as $30 per month. In Canada, Vancouver, British Columbia, has not one, but two 1Gbit competitors - OneGigabit and Shaw. To help offer people the best bang for the buck, OneGigabit focuses on condos and apartment buildings; Shaw will focus on virtually anyone as long as the area is fiber-ready.
While I'm sure Google would love to get into all of the biggest markets at once, as consumers we can at least be happy at the fact that the company spearheaded this 1Gbit movement. As we can see, things have been accelerating over the past year, and it's only likely to get better. In time, we might just consider these mega-speeds to be normal, and not so out-of-the-ordinary.