Google Fiber is still operating in a handful of cities, and now the bandwidth-rich are getting richer: Fiber plans to upgrade some users to outrageously fast 20Gbps service by the end of the year. Google’s Wednesday blog post calls this part of a “GFiber Labs” experiment and says the service “will initially be available as an early access offering to a small group of GFiber customers in select areas.”
The 20Gbps service is made possible by new networking gear: Nokia’s 25G PON (passive optical network) technology, which lets Internet service providers push more bandwidth over existing fiber lines. Google says it’s “one of the first” ISPs to adopt the technology for consumers, though at least one other US ISP, the Tennessee provider “EPB,” has rolled out the technology. Customers will need new networking gear, too, and Google says you’ll get a new fiber modem with built-in Wi-Fi 7.
Fierce Telecom spoke with Google’s Nick Saporito, head of product at Google Fiber, who said, “We definitely see a need” for 20Gbps service. For now, Saporito says the service is “a very early adopter product,” but it will eventually roll out “in most, if not all, of our markets.”
According to that Fierce report, Fiber is built on Nokia’s “Quillion” Fiber platform, which is upgradable, so Google only needed to “plug in a new optical module and replace the optical network terminal on the end-user side” to take its 5 and 8Gbps infrastructure to 20Gbps.
As always with Google Fiber, this is a symmetrical connection with 20Gbps down and up, so you can create content, like posting a YouTube video, in a flash. That’s an incredible speed compared to most other ISPs. I live in a bandwidth desert ruled by the local broadband monopoly, Comcast, and this is 1,000 times more upload speed than the nearly 20Mbps upload Comcast will sell me.
There’s no word yet on the price or which utopian Google Fiber cities will get access to the 20Gbps service, but Google has already run trials in Kansas City, Missouri. Currently, Google Fiber costs $70 for 1Gbps and $150 for 8Gbps. Interested customers can sign up for early access at this link.