Google Fiber sticks to $70 for a gig in Austin, TV costs more

6 December 2014 by Steve Blum
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Google Fiber is taking sign-ups in limited areas in the Austin, Texas area. Following the same path it took in the Kansas City area, Google says it’ll pick which neighborhoods – fiberhoods as it calls them – to build first based on the number of committed subscribers

Whether you’re in a home, apartment, or a small business, you’ll notice that getting Google Fiber is a little different. We don’t choose which areas get Fiber — you and your neighbors do. Last year I shared an early look at how this will work; now you’ll be able to see this process live so that you know how many more people need to sign up in order to bring Fiber to your neighborhood.

As in Kansas City and Provo, Utah, a gig costs $70 for residential customers and $100 for small businesses, where it’s available. People that just want to pay a $300 installation fee (or $25 a month for a year) can get service at 5 Mbps down/1Mbps up for no additional cost “for up to seven years” (in other words, free if you sorta ignore the $300 plus taxes and fees). That’s the same as KC. The buy-in for free service in Provo is $30. Plus you have to count the $5.35 a month tacked on to every electric customer’s bill, whether taking fiber service or not, to pay back the money the city borrowed to build the system. Which it gave to Google for $2, flat.

Television service, though, is more expensive in Austin: $130 for a gig plus a generous basic TV line-up, versus $120 for KC and Provo. Google hasn’t explained the reason but a good guess is the difference in the cost of local programming – TV stations and regional sports networks. Even Google has to pay the prices set by programmers, or do without.