World Bulletin / News Desk
Google Inc made its foray into the market for bundled Internet and television services on Thursday, promising access speeds more than 100 times faster than those of traditional U.S. cable and telecommunications companies.
The Web search leader unveiled its ultra-high speed Google Fiber service in Kansas City, Missouri, and could start installations in September, executives said. Google hopes to roll out the service to other cities later.
"Access is the next frontier that needs to be opened," Google Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette said. "We're going to do it profitably. That is our plan."
"We are at a crossroad," he added, noting that Internet speeds had leveled out for broadband since around 2000. "We at Google we believe there is no need to wait."
Google Fiber's ultra high-speed connections and television offerings are aimed at surpassing those of current providers, allowing users to search live channels, Netflix, YouTube, recorded shows and tens of thousands of hours of on-demand programming. However, no phone service is available.
"The phone is really a 1940s thing. Why have a landline? It's sitting there, you use it once every two weeks," Pichette said.
Google said it also intends to roll out product packages for businesses, but would not provide details.
Google Fiber includes more than 100 networks and costs $120 a month for a package of TV, 1 gigabyte per second Internet speeds and 1 terabyte of cloud storage.
The package includes popular networks owned by major media companies such as Comcast Corp's NBC Universal, Discovery Communications and Viacom Inc. Premium movie networks are available from Liberty Media's Starz for an extra fee.
But it excludes several major TV names, such as News Corp's Fox cable channels; Time Warnernetworks like CNN, TNT and TBS, as well as Walt Disney Co cable channels like ESPN and Disney children networks.
Google executives said the company is still in negotiations to add more content.
"They need to be able to offer something that is everything people have now and more," said Ben Schachter, an analyst with Macquarie Research.
"People are going to have high expectations for this. The worst thing they can do is come out and disappoint."
Google is also offering an Internet-only package priced at $70 a month. The download speeds would be around 1 gigabyte a second, according to Google executives.
Google is charging a $300 installation fee, saying consumers should treat it as a "home improvement" cost.
The initial service area includes central Kansas City, Missouri and all of the city of neighboring KansasCity, Kansas.
This market is dominated by Time Warner Cable Inc, which charges $99.95 for its fastest Internet-only service there. Google Fiber would be 20 times faster.
Time Warner spokesman Justin Venech said the second largest U.S. cable operator had a "robust and adaptable network" and welcomed the competition.
FEATURES AND FREEBIE
Google Fiber includes such features as the ability to record eight TV shows at a time and store up to 500 hours of high definition programming. Users can choose to use a tablet or smartphone as a voice-activated remote control.
Google is offering its Nexus 7 tablet with the Google TV app to early users of the service.
Google said it is setting up a 6-week "rally" for consumers to vote on where the first fiber communities, or "fiberhoods," should be installed in the Kansas City area.
Consumers must pay $10 to register their household online for service. About 50 "neighbors" will need to register in order for their area to be eligible for installation services, according to Google executives.
Whether or not consumers will embrace the new offerings remains to be seen. But officials said they are confident Kansas City will be a showcase of success for a larger rollout.
"Google is a very different company," said Kevin Lo, general manager of Google Access. "And this is not a short-term project."
Israeli military concerned game could lead to locations and images of military bases being leaked
AG600 developed for use in emergency operations has max cruising speed of 500 km per hour, max flight range of 4,500 km
Vast quantities of rare gas hint at Earth’s past, could power planet’s future
Global temperatures at record highs; Arctic sea ice levels at record lows
23-year-old researcher to create computer models of brain structures in world's largest particle physics laboratory
New mobile game already used by 5 percent of Android users in US
The $180m radio telescope with size of 30 football fields is expected to be operational by September, state media says.
The 41st Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) Scientific Assembly will take place between July 30 and August 7 at the Istanbul Congress Center
India launches largest successful satellite mission as it continues focus on space reseach
Court-ordered payout comes on same day company pulls fake refugee rescue app
Driverless minibus called Olli, capable of carrying up to 12 people, released by IBM and Local Motors
Popular social media network Twitter has broken, with the network's website and mobile apps inaccessible for users worldwide
In April, Germany officially announced a new incentive and investment program to accelerate the adoption of electric cars in the country.
Findings based on laser technology challenge previous theories on urban, water systems around temple complexes
With clean energy, ‘you can reconcile ecology and economy’, says Solar Impulse navigator