Though I won’t go so far as “disruptive,” this is definitely ambitious, right down to the fact that there are still some significant components up in the air. For example, while Google picked Kansas City to give its fiber initiative a shot, you can’t just walk in and sign up. Neighborhoods have to compete for Google’s infrastructure investment dollars.
Plus, the cable TV offering is spotty at best. Showtime, Encore, MTV, and Nickelodeon are on board, but Disney, BBC, Fox News, FX, and of course HBO are not.
The pricing structure is why I stop short at “disruptive.” Assuming you’re in a neighborhood that wins Google’s fiber favor, your first option is to pay a $300 signup and initial construction fee and then either $70 per month for internet-only service or $120 per month for internet and TV—not exactly a mind-altering departure from current rates, though the speed and service sure are. For those prices you get 1 gigabit up and down (no, that’s not a typo), 1TB of network storage on Google Drive, and a Nexus 7 to use as a remote for the setup.
Sidenote: doesn’t a $200 remote seem like a little overkill?
If you can’t swing the $300 sign-up fee, though, you still have options. You can sign a one-year contract and get the fee waived, or opt for a compartively and cripplingly slow five megabits down and one megabit up with no monthly fee, then pay off the construction fee over time. On the bright side, at least you have options.
Quirks of this initial rollout aside, I’m glad to see anyone upsetting the comfortable US ISP monopoly by any means necessary.