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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 Taco Cowboy (5327) on Friday January 24, 2014 @08:09PM (#46062941) Journal

    ... I was a researcher in a very advance research facility. At that time we had a (supposedly) "big pipe" to the Net, a 100Mbps line. (That was several decades ago)

    I was feeling kinda "proud" that I get to "play" with the "high speed link" to the world, that I, somehow, is on a higher pedestal than the rest of the peons ... until I visited South Korea.

    In a friend's home, yes, private house, I experienced for the first time, what raw speed meant.

    The 1Gbps speed just blew my fucking mind away, and imagine, they got that in their home, and I, a researcher, only get to play a supposedly "big 100Mbps pipe".

  • 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]

  • I brought up quite a few fresh GigE circuits in datacenters. For the first day or so, it was exclusively mine to use. Once I got bandwidth monitoring up, I got to see what the line could really do.

    With plenty of sites, I couldn't pull more than 1Mb/s. Your throughput is still totally dependent on the throughput of every point from their disk to you.

    My laptop couldn't saturate a GigE line. The same as the previous statement applies. If the laptop won't pass 1000Mb/s for any portion, you won't get the full speed. It could be the bus, disk, or just the software handling the connection.

    To saturate the line, I'd bring up a few idle servers, and then have multiple large downloads going to multiple places. Like, downloading distro ISOs from various mirrors.

    Sometimes the equipment you have in between is the bottleneck. I put GigE in at my house, because I have servers and my home LAN. The consumer router for the home LAN I was using did GigE on all ports. I couldn't pull more than 80Mb/s through it. I swapped it for a slightly better consumer router, which will pass about 400Mb/s.

    Even with 400Mb/s between the two rooms, I can see the throughput suffer if a server is overloaded, or is doing something dumb.

    Watching my uplink graphs, I see that I very occasionally pull 80Mb/s from the Internet. Actually last night was 85.3Mb/s. They are tiny spikes when intensive traffic hits. I believe, because of when it happens, that's a backup event from a remote site. Normal daily use is single digit Mb/s. Like, someone on the LAN as I'm writing this is playing a FPS online. Their latency is in the single digits. They're pulling a whopping 220Kb/s.

    I guess if you had 5 or 6 torrent boxes running, you could saturate your GigE line. Normal use, most people won't be able to tell the difference between a 10Mb/s uplink and a 100Mb/s uplink.

  • 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 ReverendLoki (663861) on Friday January 24, 2014 @09:43PM (#46063561)

    This is why Google is rolling out to KC, Provo and Austin. I know in KC, the city agreed to streamline and cut a deal on government costs on rolling out the hardware - less giving "big business" a break, and more taking the course of action that's best for it's citizens, really. I believe Provo and Austin have done similar, and if I recall, Provo even had a small, existing fiber rollout in place to start from.

  • 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 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.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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