Last June, Google made an announcement that it would be launching what is known as Google Fiber in Kansas City. For the price of $70 for internet service and $120 for both the internet and television connection, consumers would be able to get symmetrical gigabit speed, Google TV, the use of YouTube and Netflix, a Nexus 7 tablet, a Bluetooth remote control, and an iOS app so that iPhone and iPad users will be able to control their Google Fiber television with those devices. It has been reported that Google is spending somewhere between $500 and $800 million dollars to get this service up and running smoothly.
Now, Time Warner Cable has announced that they will be investing around $25 million in order to bring gigabit broadband service to New York City offices in what is being called “a fiber rollout”; although, according to them (and a bit of research that we’ve done on the product), it is nothing like what Google is doing in Kansas City. Nothing at all.
Aside from the obvious fact that the amount of money spent is drastically different, one of the main focuses for Time Warner Cable is to be able to cover core fiber build out, while strengthening it, in order to reach hundreds of New York City office buildings (including in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island and Queens). Some places already have the “fiber addition” implemented like the Empire State Building. Others locations are officially on the list to receive the service, including the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Greenpoint.
Another difference worth noting is that while Google’s fiber will provide households in Kansas City with a gigabit that must be shared, Time Warner Cable will deliver their gigabit to an entire building (well, set of buildings). This means that hundreds, if not thousands, of people will be able to tap into the network simultaneously.
And still, another notable difference is that while we’ve already discussed what Google is charging its customers for their Google Fiber services, remember that Time Warner Cable is not going after home subscribers, but businesses. So, while the price has not been announced (yet), you can expect that companies will be charged 3-5 times more than what a single home would. Higher prices usually come with higher service levels; however, it also makes Time Warner Cable’s investment more justifiable in the sense that they will be able to make the money that they put into their fiber network back much sooner than Google will.
All in all, a lot of critics are already not impressed with the fact that some feel that Time Warner Cable “fiber” can even be mentioned in the same breath (or article copy) as what Google Fiber is doing; that it’s kind of like saying, “Well, as long as you have an internet and computer monitor with a screen protector on it, the only difference between the fiber services is that your computer is one a house in Kansas City while mine is in an office building in Brooklyn.” As we can clearly see, the two things really don’t even come close. Ballyhoo (blatant advertising in order to win customers over) comes in all forms and types of companies. Don’t be too quick to fall for it. Even if it is Time Warner Cable.