Google readies small-scale 1Gbps broadband trial

Is 50Mbps broadband already starting to seem a little sluggish? Then why not petition Google to implement a 1Gbps fiber service in your community? We’re not kidding. Google has announced plans to roll out a competitively priced, 1Gbps fiber-to-the-home service in a "small number of trial locations across the United States," and it welcomes both home users and local officials to nominate their community as a trial area.

If everything works out, 50,000 to 500,000 users will be able to enjoy the service. With 1Gbps of downstream bandwidth, they’ll be able to hit theoretical peak download speeds of around 125MB/s, or fast enough to download the contents of a 50GB Blu-ray disc in just over six and a half minutes.

Is Google trying to give Comcast and other cable providers a run for their money? Perhaps not quite yet. Google calls the service an "experiment" and says it will be pursuing the following goals:

  • Next generation apps: We want to see what developers and users can do with ultra high-speeds, whether it’s creating new bandwidth-intensive "killer apps" and services, or other uses we can’t yet imagine.
  • New deployment techniques: We’ll test new ways to build fiber networks, and to help inform and support deployments elsewhere, we’ll share key lessons learned with the world.
  • Openness and choice: We’ll operate an "open access" network, giving users the choice of multiple service providers. And consistent with our past advocacy, we’ll manage our network in an open, non-discriminatory and transparent way.

Specifically, that "choice of multiple service providers" line suggests Google could allow other ISPs like Comcast to offer services through the network.

In any case, the company is taking nominations for target communities until March 26. The winners, so to speak, will be announced "later this year." (Thanks to TR reader David Green for the heads up.)

Comments closed
    • titan
    • 13 years ago

    That’s a fairly limited view. My GF and I like to watch different shows. At the same time. Usually we’re limited to only one of us being able to watch a Netflix show and some other browsing. Rarely two shows at once.

    FIOS isn’t available in my area, and I doubt even the petition by everyone in the Smokys would be enough to convince Google to test anything here.

    There are a lot of times, though, that I do several things at once via the Internet and having the bandwidth to do such and watch a movie or TV over the ‘Net would be awesome.

    And then there’s the old saying/theory: work expands to fit the time allowed. Well, an offshoot would be: Data expands to fit the pipe allowed.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    Better for streaming high value -[

    • Chrispy_
    • 13 years ago

    I have trouble in day-to-day streaming, downloading, gaming and browsing in saturating an 8 Mb/s link. I think my (relatively slow) link is so much faster than the typical host that it’s pointless.

    My home broadband is 20 Mb/s and even torrenting enormous quantities of data (eg, all the simpsons ever) is the work of a few hours. How will having 1Gb/s of bandwidth help when the median server transfer limit is 1-2Mb/s?

    • Xenolith
    • 13 years ago

    Hopefully this tech will be provided to hosts. These speeds lose luster if the servers are throttled.

    • Palek
    • 13 years ago

    <tinfoil hat>
    All your data are belong to us!

    In their ultimate plan of global data domination Google envision a future where all data on the planet (in the known universe?) resides in their massive data centers (ready to be -[

    • pogsnet
    • 13 years ago
    • cataphract
    • 13 years ago

    Here in Portugal, there are symmetric 1 Gbps connections with no traffic limit for 250€.

    • 5150
    • 13 years ago

    My 9600 baud could really use an upgrade.

    • kuraegomon
    • 13 years ago

    Depends on the “performer” quality, I’d say 😉 Seriously though, I remember a couple of years ago reading a fair bit on how HD was changing what entertainment producers were looking for in their upcoming (mainstream) actors and TV personalities. I.e. having HD-ready features (esp. skin!) was actually becoming more emphasized …

    • jasonalwaysready
    • 13 years ago

    some things werent meant to be seen in high def

    • RealPjotr
    • 13 years ago

    Where I live in Sweden I pay

    • wobbles-grogan
    • 13 years ago

    Try moving to ireland. Youll know all about speed issues then 🙂

    • Mystic-G
    • 13 years ago

    Comparing e-peens are we? Piracy at the speed of light!!

    But really I’m glad at least someone’s being forward thinking instead of contemplating how they can restrict their users next.

    • Meadows
    • 13 years ago

    My 3.5 MiB/s connection largely disregards all of you.

    • geekl33tgamer
    • 13 years ago


    • BenBasson
    • 13 years ago

    Frankly, that’s a problem I wouldn’t mind having.

    • PenGun
    • 13 years ago

    My 2 MB/s connection smiles in your general direction.

    • Hurst
    • 13 years ago


    I’m happy with my 40mbit/5mbit. But I would sign up fo 1GBPS in a heart beat if they could keep the price at a consumer level.


    • moog
    • 13 years ago

    They’re trying to become the next cable provider. But how do they plan to differentiate themselves here?

    Seems to me that Google intends to own the whole universe from content (e.g. youtube etc.), google networks, and client (e.g. chrome os, gphone etc.). Quite a monopoly, even more ambitious than Apple or Microsoft it seems.

    I for one would protest if Google were coming to my neighborhood since I’m sure it helps them to track my usage (even if I don’t use their OS, browser, phone, or websites).

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    So with Google as your ISP or backbone provider you would have absolutely no choice on whether or not they get to track everything you do on the web. Nice.

    • moog
    • 13 years ago

    More like bottlenecked by the server’s processing time.

    • BoBzeBuilder
    • 13 years ago

    My 1200KB/s connection laughs at thee.

    • FuturePastNow
    • 13 years ago

    My 40KB/s connection is curled up in the corner, crying.

    • StuG
    • 13 years ago

    My 100KB/S connection agrees

    • toyota
    • 13 years ago

    it would be nice if more than 1% of the web could utilize that much speed. heck I can only find a handful of sites that actually utilize my 20meg connection. basically the same sites that were slow back when I had 10 or even 5meg are just as slow now.

    • blastdoor
    • 13 years ago

    Everything google does just feels like they’re playing a game, and as soon as they’re bored with it, they’ll move onto something else. But I guess they can afford to do that. Must be nice!

    • UberGerbil
    • 13 years ago

    Unlikely. Wireless bandwidth is ultimately far more limited than wired.

    But we might be limited by the speed of photons in fiber. (Though actually switching latency starts to become the problem unless you’re sucking all your packets from the other side of the planet)

    • TechNut
    • 13 years ago


    I’m moving to 16Mbps from 6Mbps next week. I expect it’ll be 2020 by the time I can get 100Mbps at home … The joys of Canuckistan and being “outside” a major city.

    • Mystic-G
    • 13 years ago

    This probably made the developers for OnLive smile all day long. I do wonder if Sony or Microsoft would license their product for online game rentals for the next generation of consoles. This given that OnLive had become a proven product, at least behind closed doors by then.

    • adam1378
    • 13 years ago

    We could have full HD movies streaming from Netflix for starters.

    • Krogoth
    • 13 years ago

    Fapping at the speed of Gbps.

    • NeelyCam
    • 13 years ago

    yeah, except it’ll all be wireless then

    • echo_seven
    • 13 years ago

    yeah…always wondered about that. What exactly are the Koreans (and Japanese) doing with all that bandwidth they supposedly have? 2chan looks like crap…

    • BlackStar
    • 13 years ago

    Ever tried uploading the video feed of, say, your diploma thesis presentation on a 1Mbps upstream connection? Not fun, especially when the connection drops halfway through.

    Another example: software sometimes work with codebases that touch the GB mark (e.g. games, scientific visualization and similar projects – including assets, of course). Slow connections (in the order of a few Mbps) your life *very* painful when working on such projects. (Our team was working with a dedicated 10Mbps connection that would get congested regularly).

    Yet a third example: hosting your own web content. With Opera Unite, for example, you can do that with two clicks. Fast home connections will make that much more feasible.

    Finally, you really cannot appreciate high speed connections until you have had the pleasure to use them. Right now, I have 125Mbps total bandwidth to our (free) metropolitan network and let me tell you – this thing rocks.

    Rhetorical question: ever seen what a 1ms DNS response time can do to your internet browsing?

    • squngy
    • 13 years ago

    My ISPs pricing:

    Hitrostni paketi
    Cena z DDV Nova cena z DDV
    (price including tax) (new price with tax)

    10/10 Megabitov / sek.
    14 EUR 19 EUR
    100 Mbps / 10 Mbps
    20 EUR 25 EUR

    20 Megabitov / sek. simetric;no
    28 EUR 28 EUR
    50 Megabitov / sek. simetricno
    30 EUR 39 EUR
    100 Megabitov / sek. simetricno
    40 EUR 49 EUR
    200 Megabitov / sek. simetricno
    200 EUR 200 EUR
    300 Megabitov / sek. simetricno
    300 EUR 300 EUR
    500 Megabitov / sek. simetricno
    500 EUR 500 EUR
    1 Gigabit / sek. simetricno
    1000 EUR 1000 EUR

    sek= second, simetricno= symmetrical.

    They are driving the prices up!

    maybe I should get the 100/10 mbps instead of the current 10/10 since the difference will be 6EUR?

    BTW no download caps with any ISP, where I’m from.


    • henfactor
    • 13 years ago

    My 650*[

    • Fighterpilot
    • 13 years ago

    Having fast Internet(15Mbps or quicker) makes net surfing a much nicer experience.With all the videos /clips available on news sites it’s great to be able to download or stream video without delay.
    I’m able to download on torrent the latest episode of Top Gear from the U.K in about 10-12 minutes (700MB) so it’s pretty convenient.
    Within a few days of having high speed available it becomes the default experience and you’d never want to go back.
    100Mbps+ FTW.

    • mjallan123
    • 13 years ago

    Sorry – double post.

    • henfactor
    • 13 years ago

    Before you know it, the speed of electricity in copper will be the limiting factor! 😉

    • mjallan123
    • 13 years ago

    Download uber high-def porn obviously.

    • Stranger
    • 13 years ago

    Google will because they’re the company at the other end of this fantastic fiber optic line.

    • Meadows
    • 13 years ago

    Never mind that, you’d be bottlenecked by your storage.

    • thecoldanddarkone
    • 13 years ago

    At that speed you could stream a blue ray movie, problem is, where are you going to stream it from? At 50k-500k (huge difference of users) who’s going to provide a service like that? Probably nobody.

    • Mikael33
    • 13 years ago

    What makes you think tv needs 1gbps of bandwidth? Try well under 30mbps for 1080P.

    • djgandy
    • 13 years ago

    deliver TV over it

    • kvndoom
    • 13 years ago


    • Anvil
    • 13 years ago

    If the Koreans are anything to go by, play Starcraft.

    • Ushio01
    • 13 years ago

    Bring it to the UK PLEASE.

    Seriously though what would you do with those speeds?

    • khands
    • 13 years ago

    It would be odd having my connection bottle-necked by my Ethernet 😮

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