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Google Fiber Launches In Provo — and Here's What It Feels Like 338

Posted by timothy
from the white-whites-more-vibrant-colors dept.
Velcroman1 writes "I've seen the future. It's called gigabit Internet by Google Fiber, and it just launched in my hometown of Provo, Utah, the second of three scheduled cities to get speeds that are 100 times faster than the rest of America. 'What good is really fast Internet if the content stays the same?' you may ask yourself. I certainly did, before testing the service. Besides, my "high speed" Internet from Comcast seemed fast enough, enabling my household to stream HD videos, load web pages quickly, and connect multiple devices as needed, largely without hiccup. I was wrong. Using gigabit Internet, even in its infancy, opened my eyes to speed and reminded me of why I love the Internet."
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Google Fiber Launches In Provo — and Here's What It Feels Like

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  • by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe&jwsmythe,com> on Friday January 24, 2014 @08:00PM (#46062875) Homepage Journal

    What was your throughput like? If they're providing GigE, you still won't see it on a single workstation. Did you measure the uplink speed?

    What was your latency like? You could have GigE, but if it's 1000ms pings, that's going to be worthless for most of this audience.

    Where are they peering? What did your traceroutes look like?

    There are lots of ways we can quantify how good or bad a connection is. You missed the important parts.

    • by Lennie (16154)

      If it's the Google network, than that would be one of the most peered with networks in the world you are connected to.

      I think Google doesn't even buy transit. Just like a Tier 1 network.

      So peering shouldn't be an issue.

      • by rahvin112 (446269)

        Google IS a tier 1 network. They own a significant amount of fiber on long term leases. Where they actually selling access (outside their test projects) they would be one of the larger international networks.

      • by JWSmythe (446288)

        Peering is *always* an issue. Some companies do it well. Some do not.

        At this point, no one has said who the carrier really is. It could be Google. It could be a locally source carrier. A few traceroutes would at have given us a hint.

    • by FriendlyStatistician (2652203) on Friday January 24, 2014 @09:04PM (#46063313)

      He doesn't mention latency, but he does say he clocked 915 Mb/s both up and down.

      You could try reading the article.

      • Most people who love to post these high speedtest numbers are people who's provider runs a speedtest server. Ok, so you can get that speed to their central office. Big deal, I get those speeds to our speedtest server at work... because it is down the hall from me.

        A real speed test involves going off network and a good distance away. I generally test to FastServ Networks in California because they have a solid network on their test server, it is off my ISP (at home and at work) and in a different state. If m

  • I've been perusing the Google Fiber site trying to understand how it works. Is Google going to be the ISP? Are they just working with local ISPs to implement some of this?

    And if I get Google fiber who is in charge of making sure I can't get all the content of the web at equal speeds?

    • by Aelanna (2695123) on Friday January 24, 2014 @08:16PM (#46063007)
      At least in the case of Provo, Google Fiber is the ISP. All of the former iProvo customers on Veracity have been given notice to transfer their service by signing up for new Google Fiber accounts (which can be regular Google accounts) before Veracity dumps them completely.
    • by Guppy (12314) on Friday January 24, 2014 @08:24PM (#46063065)

      Funny you should mention Net Neutrality, because this is what it's all about. And an example of how farsighted Google is compared to their opposition, always a step ahead in their strategic planning. If Net Neutrality continues to get rolled back, expect Internet companies to get squeezed hard by the big ISPs (I predict Netflix will be the most vulnerable example of this). "Nice Market you got there. Would be a shame if anything happened to it."

      Google is anticipating such a development, and demonstrating to those providers that they are not quite untouchable as they think. They don't need to roll out Google Fiber everywhere (though that would be awesome), just do it enough times to demonstrate to ISPs that they can do it anywhere.

      • They don't need to roll out Google Fiber everywhere (though that would be awesome), just do it enough times to demonstrate to ISPs that they can do it anywhere.

        they can do it anywhere, but not everywhere. not even google could afford to fiber enough of the US to even put a small dent in Big ISP's wallet.

      • by MrDoh! (71235)
        Yeah, this is exactly what I think they're doing. Covering themselves to say 'we don't really want to, but if you force us to, we're in a position to take away every bit of business you've currently got, and we will, so what was that about you wanting us to pay to give your (soon to be ours) customers content? At the moment, I think they're a bit limited as to FCC/laws on owning everything, but with the telcos wanting to be more than just dumb pipes, they're setting themselves up to confronted about their
    • by fermion (181285)
      My real concern is that Google is in the advertiser business, and when someone ventures outside their core, one has to ask hy. Obviously customers connecting directly to Google servers makes data collection easier. Every website, every email, every chat, every call, logged categorized and even saved for the NSA or whatever other customer is willing to pay for it.

      I run about 20gb/s. I have have higher connections elsewhere, and frankly I don't see a big difference most of the time as most web sites can

      • I would not run google as an ISP.

        I try to avoid google; the last thing I'd want is to have them at the other endpoint of my link!

        bandwidth be damned; privacy is worth more to me than that.

  • Even when I use the gigabit connection at work, I don't notice a huge difference between that and the 50mbit connection at home unless I'm doing a big download (but even so, I rarely get gigabit speeds unless I'm connecting to one of the servers on the other end of our gigabit pipe -- the internet and server on the other end tend to limit the speed).

    Pages don't seem to load any faster (which I assume is due to rendering time and time to wait on slow ad networks to spit out their javascript to let the page

    • by demonbug (309515)

      I don't see a whole lot of use for the gigabit speed right now, you're right. The biggest thing I see is the symmetrical connection, and significantly lower prices than competitors at similar speeds. 1000/1000 may not be all that useful in the vast majority of cases unless you have a lot of people sharing the bandwidth, but 100/100 for the same price as the 15/1.5 I'm limited to now would be huge. Online backup would be nearly transparent (it took about 3 weeks on my connection, and that was only backing up

    • I have gigabit to my desk at work, though the pipe outside the company is maybe a gigabit per 100 of us. Besides the Linux-ISO-in-seconds thing, the best benefit is the complete lack of latency on random data hogs like Google maps panning, or how quickly I get the HD feed on streaming Netflix (at the company gym onto my iPad). Or really the ability to do all of the above simultaneously with the guy next to you, and not really notice anything. That just doesn't happen at home right now on a 40 MBPS AT

    • by timeOday (582209)
      When we have truly adapted to gigabit Internet, there won't even be "pages" to "load" faster.
  • by atari2600a (1892574) on Friday January 24, 2014 @08:16PM (#46062993)
    You don't own a Google Fiber modem yet!? You HAVE seen the speeds right? Only Google Fiber has the gigabit speeds I require for BLAST PROCESSING! Google does what Comcan't!
  • Chattanooga Too (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday January 24, 2014 @08:16PM (#46062999)

    Chattanooga has symmetric 1gbps internet available to the entire city and suburbs for the same price as google fiber (but no "zero-cost" option for low speed). And, as a plus, it isn't google, it is the local electricity co-op.

    https://epbfi.com/internet/ [epbfi.com]

    • by bob_super (3391281) on Friday January 24, 2014 @08:28PM (#46063083)

      But but but ... who's mining your browsing data then?

    • by swillden (191260)

      Chattanooga has symmetric 1gbps internet available to the entire city and suburbs for the same price as google fiber (but no "zero-cost" option for low speed). And, as a plus, it isn't google, it is the local electricity co-op.

      Was the rollout spurred on by the news of Google Fiber? If so, then Google will call that a win for them.

      • No, they were deploying well ahead of google. They were upgrading their electricity command-and-control system to fiber and realized they could also be an ISP for only marginally more money since they were running fiber on all the electric poles anyway.

        There pricing is directly inspired by google, the gig price used to be around $300/month until about 6 months ago. But they are probably making more money with the lower price level because practically no one paid for 1 gig anyway. Bringing the price down

        • by swillden (191260)
          Cool. I'd love to see more of this. And I think Google would still count this as a win, given the pricing changes and the fact that they led to wider adoption.
  • Besides, my "high speed" Internet from Comcast seemed fast enough, enabling my household to stream HD videos, load web pages quickly, and connect multiple devices as needed, largely without hiccup. I was wrong.

    Is there a special Olympics for underestimating one's needy narcissism?

    There are first world problems, and then there are 90210 problems, and then there is the unreliable gardener who once over-trimmed the bonsai tree beside the Arowana pond in the sunken garden of your private Luxembourg vacation vil

    • by ewhac (5844) on Friday January 24, 2014 @08:49PM (#46063217) Homepage Journal
      15 years ago, nobody "needed" broadband. Dialup was, "good enough."

      Today, try doing anything other than text-only email over 56Kb dialup.

      Broadband uptake enabled a new class of Internet sites and services. Google is betting that history will repeat itself by kicking speeds up by two orders of magnitude. It also has the beneficial side-effect of lighting a fire under AT&T's slothful ass.

      Also keep in mind that GFiber offerings are symmetric. That means you get to upload your photos and videos at 1Gb/sec as well, and not through the 768Kb straw that DSL and cable providers decided was "good enough" for consumer-class Internet.

      • Let this be the beginning of the end of centralized social networks like facebook and g+.
        The biggest value they provided was photo hosting. Now you can do it at home on your own personal server. Its just going to take some smart decentralized (p2p?) software to handle it.

      • by bloodhawk (813939)

        15 years ago, nobody "needed" broadband. Dialup was, "good enough."

        That really isn't true. Dialup was all we had but it certainly was slow as all fuck and EVERYBODY hated it. I had plenty of friends at the time that invested thousands of dollars to have ISDN to their house because dialup sucked that much.

    • Yeah, I know what you mean, I'm jealous too.
  • But we already know about it. Could you have maybe written up an nice little review of you experiences, such as what is suggested in this post:

    http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=4709907&cid=46062875

    I'm sure you could flesh it out more with your families in home experience, in regards to the various bandwidth related applications and device we use these days. It's great that it reminded you love the internet, but a little content on why could have helped. Google Fiber is a month or two away from
  • https://static.googleuserconte... [googleusercontent.com]

    for 84601 you should get

    http://www.directv.com/DTVAPP/... [directv.com]

    also they seem to be missing the BIG TEN overflow channels.

    Veracity seemed to least have root sports.

    http://residential.veracitynet... [veracitynetworks.com]

  • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Friday January 24, 2014 @09:08PM (#46063337) Homepage Journal

    Google Fiber Launches In Provo — and Here's What It Feels Like

    Why all the hate for Google?

    Here in New Hampshire we have to choose between Fairpoint or Comcast.

    Would you like to know what *that* feels like?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 24, 2014 @09:09PM (#46063345)

    First of all Google Internet was not 100 times faster in Provo. Provo has had fiber that could go 1Gbps for almost 10 years now and everything he said he could was being done 10 years ago. The biggest difference is that Google now owns the $40M fiber network that they paid $1 for instead of Provo City. What makes it even better is the citizens still have to pay for the $40M bond that built the network. But wait, there's more. What they didn't tell you is Google is kicking all commercial customers off their network and now government agencies and schools have to pay for the network instead of getting it for free.

    To sum it up, Provo gave up millions of dollars a year in revenue for the opportunity to have Google come to town and charge them for the same Internet that they already had for free while simultaneously offending all business owners by kicking them off the network and sticking them with the bill.

    • Sorry, Provo had more pressing issues like trying to get rid of gay marriage.
    • by khallow (566160) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @12:57AM (#46064521)

      To sum it up, Provo gave up millions of dollars a year in revenue for the opportunity to have Google come to town and charge them for the same Internet that they already had for free while simultaneously offending all business owners by kicking them off the network and sticking them with the bill.

      Sure they did. According to this story [sltrib.com], Provo was paying over $3 million annually just in debt service on this fiber (called "iProvo") and losing money on the service even ignoring those bond payments. It might have had "millions of dollars a year in revenue", but it was a net loss.

      Google now owns the $40M fiber network that they paid $1 for

      Sounds like iProvo was such a money sink that Provo would have paid someone to take it on - even ignoring the bonds. That's not the sign of a $40 million asset, but of a considerable liability.

    • by jader3rd (2222716)

      To sum it up, Provo gave up millions of dollars a year in revenue for the opportunity to have Google come to town and charge them for the same Internet that they already had for free while simultaneously offending all business owners by kicking them off the network and sticking them with the bill.

      Provo was caught between two right wing ideals, being pro business/growth and being anti government. Provo knew that a fiber network in the city would make the city more appealing to businesses and residences. Enough people were excited about business and growth opportunities in it that they were able to get a bond passed to build the network. But, the only way to appease the anti-government folks was to not increase taxes on the population and only have customers pay back the bond. The anti-government folk

    • by bogjobber (880402)
      Apparently "free" in your mind does not include the millions of dollars a year the city government was losing operating the service. Pretty sure that wasn't monopoly money they were spending. Residents can still get a 5mbps synchronous connection for free. Schools are still getting free gigabit. It's just the gigabit residential/business that is $70/month, which is what a fair amount of Americans pay for service that is orders of magnitude worse. Provo City is making out like a bandit. I wish the othe
  • by nmb3000 (741169) <nmb3000@that-google-mail-site.com> on Friday January 24, 2014 @09:21PM (#46063421) Homepage Journal

    An interesting side effect of Google's fiber offering is the sudden competition it's putting in some places where it hardly existed before, and allowing us to examine the results.

    I have a friend who lives in Provo (about 10 miles south of me) and will be eligible for Google Fiber when they open it up in his area this March. He has had Comcast Internet service for a couple of years now and is planning on switching to Google when he can. However, about a month ago a Comcast representative came directly to his home, unscheduled, to talk about a "new and improved" service level he was now eligible for.

    This Comcast rep told my friend that, effective immediately (all he had to do was call Comcast), he could change his current ISP service to a package that offered 250 Mbps down / 150 Mbps up, no bandwidth cap, for $25 / month. To compare, he was currently getting 25 Mbps down and paying $75 / month. A couple of weeks ago he made the switch and has been very happy with the order of magnitude speed increase and 66% price drop.

    I understand the concept behind competition and the magical invisible hand, but this sort of behavior sickens me. If Comcast can drop their prices and increase their service offerings so quickly in response to new competition, it just goes to show how badly they are screwing over most of their other customers. And, of course, when I called them to inquire about this amazing new Internet service they were offering, I was told it was a "not available" in my area and that different "geographical regions" have different prices.

    There's a real argument here for municipal/state owned and funded fiber networks being leased out to various commercial (or otherwise) ISPs. If Google and Comcast can both offer this kind of bandwidth for these prices, the current state of affairs in most of the rest of the country is completely unjustified. I'm sick and tired of a few "elite" corporations getting an effective monopoly on Internet service offerings in vast areas, able to charge anything they please because people have no other option.

    • by Zebai (979227)

      I think you may be incorrect on those speeds. Comcast speed tiers are 3/6/25/50/105/515(certain Northeast markets only) There may be regional offers on price but the actual speeds are uniform

  • So I can only assume it's like having sex with a supermodel on a flying unicorn.

  • So you can get your Advertisements and spam delivered even faster...

  • by koan (80826)

    What's the data cap?

  • by cplusplus (782679) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @02:23AM (#46064867) Journal
    Does anyone find it just a little coincidental that this latest Google fiber rollout is only about 20 miles from the NSA's newest datacenter in Bluffdale UT? Lots of bandwidth infrastructure was already in the neighborhood :)
  • by DroneWhatever (3482785) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @08:06AM (#46065683)
    As part of my job some years ago, I would routinely visit Level3 data centers across the US. We were a simple stub network, but where I usually plugged my laptop in, was only a hop a way from the Level3 core routers at each facility. Everything was gigabit, and very fast, but not as fast as you would think, being that close to the backbone. I had to use our own DNS servers for resolution, which were not available in every facility, and, page loads were fast, but you could tell you were always waiting on the web servers to deliver the content. Point: Sometimes raw speed is not where it is at. There is something to be said about an ISP having massive amounts of cache/caching servers and a speedy DNS infrastructure.

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