Due to its limited availability, it’s an uphill fight for Google Fiber vs other major High Speed Internet providers. This is true, even though Google Fiber has announced plans to expand their broadband service to 34 cities in nine metro areas. Google Fiber’s recent efforts to eliminate buffering and lag time, however, is a major game changer that just might help them win the broadband wars.
Anyone that has ever tried to stream a movie or other video hates buffering and other causes of lag time. With the FCC’s recent net neutrality ruling, some High Speed Internet providers have begun to allow some companies to have “fast and slow” connections to their customers. This can result in network congestion or “bottlenecks” that slow transmissions on a provider’s network and can make lag times and buffering worse. Any provider that works to eliminate buffering on their network has a distinct advantage over other providers.
To help our readers make informed decisions, we give you the full details on Google Fiber vs Verizon FiOS and Comcast Xfinity. We fill you in on where Google Fiber is currently available, and how it differs from two of the major broadband providers. We also explain how changes in net neutrality might affect your ability to download and upload content, regardless of who your ISP is, or how fast your connection speed is supposed to be.
Where in the World is Google Fiber?
Google Fiber’s limited availability is the biggest drawback to the service. Currently, it’s only available in the United States in three cities: Kansas City, Austin and Provo. Earlier this year, Google Fiber announced that it is working with 34 cities in 9 metro areas to expand the fiber optic network, so that Google Fiber or another provider can offer broadband service. The nine metro areas include: Portland, San Jose, San Antonio, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Nashville, Atlanta, Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham.
This means that unless you currently live in one of the three cities were Google Fiber is available, you are out of luck. If you live in one of the nine metro areas, there is hope, as they are working with Google Fiber to expand the network. But even if they complete the checklist of requirements, there is no absolute guarantee that Google Fiber will end up being the broadband service provider in your area.
Google Fiber vs Verizon FiOS and Comcast Xfinity – What Can Google Fiber Do For Me?
If you are indeed one of the “lucky ones,” and live in a city where Google Fiber is available, then you have your choice of three service tiers. The first tier is available at no charge, and provides users the Google Fiber hardware box, as well as 5 MB download and 1 MB upload Internet Speeds.
The second tier provides users the hardware box, as well as allows users 1 GB upload and download Internet Speeds, which the company says is “100 times faster” than what most users are able to get from their current broadband providers. This tier also provides 1 TB of space for their Google Drive, but does not come with TV service.
The third tier includes everything from the second tier, as well as a DVR that can make up to eight simultaneous recordings and has up to 2 TB of storage, a TV box, and a Nexus 7 tablet for use as the system’s remote control. Comcast’s DVR only allows four simultaneous recordings and Verizon’s DVR allows two.
No matter how fast your upload or download speeds may be, if your ISP’s network is “crowded” or allows the traffic of some providers to be prioritized as more important, you may experience an increase in lag times, as well as buffering. According to a recent blog post by Google Fiber, the company works directly with content providers to reduce the network congestion that causes buffering and lag time. One of the ways that Google Fiber is working to improve buffering is by allowing providers, such as Netflix and YouTube, to hook up directly with their network. They also allow these and other providers to install their own servers with their own content within Google Fiber’s facilities.
Pushing the Limits of Google Fiber
In addition to it’s limited availability, there are some additional drawbacks in the services that are offered by Google Fiber vs Verizon FiOS and Comcast Xfinity. Both Verizon and Comcast offer subscribers the ability to control their home remotely. This service provides remote video monitoring, as well as allows users to remotely unlock their doors, turn on their lights, or even change their thermostat. Comcast Xfinity also offers professional monitoring of the home that includes door and window sensors, as well as cellular backup and fire monitoring.
If you live in an area where it’s available, and your main criteria is having the fastest download and upload speeds, then Google Fiber is a great choice. Google Fiber is also a great choice if you are just a casual Internet user that’s on a budget and wish to have a basic internet connection that is free. If you live in an area where the service is not available, or if you need additional services such as remote monitoring and home security, then you might wish to consider going with a package of bundled services from Verizon or Comcast.
Photo Credit: Paul Sableman