5 reasons why Phoenix needs Google Fiber

Google recently announced that it would be partnering with the cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe to begin planning for the eventual introduction of Google Fiber to our metropolis.

This is a massive step, and it's one we should all be supporting. Here are 5 reasons why the Valley needs Google Fiber.



1. It's insanely fast

This one seems obvious, but it bears mentioning if for no other reason than to provide perspective on just how slow our current offerings actually are.

The fastest, most widely available internet connection in the U.S. appears to be Comcast's premium service, which offers speeds of up to 105 megabits per second (Mbps). But Comcast has a somewhat secret tier of broadband access with speeds up to 500 Mbps — which is not only impossible to find on its website but carries a $400 per month price tag along with installation fees that reportedly exceed $500.

Locally, CenturyLink offers speeds of up to 40 Mbps at $40 per month, while Cox offers up to 150 Mbps for $100 a month.

Compare all of these to Google Fiber's offering: Speeds of 1 gigabit per second (or 1,000 Mbps). Not only is it far faster, but...

2. It's insanely cheap

Google Fiber's 1,000 Mbps connection speed comes with an incredible price tag of just $70 per month. That makes it twice as fast as Comcast's best offering at nearly one fifth the price. This is even more staggering when compared to CenturyLink and Cox: Google Fiber is 10 times faster than Cox's best offering for $30 less, and more than 20 times faster than CenturyLink's best offer at not even double the price.

With that kind of comparison, it seems absurd to go with any other provider. Which leads to...

3. More competition

Competition in the internet and cable space is nearly stagnate. Why can Comcast charge $400 for its 500 Mbps connection? Because it's the only provider in town. And not even in our town — Comcast does not connect residents in Arizona. But that's OK with Comcast, because Cox and CenturyLink rarely overlap with regions in which Comcast provides services.

It's almost as if the top ten cable companies in the U.S. have signed a giant non-compete — or simply merged, as Comcast and Time Warner Cable (the two largest internet and cable providers in the U.S.) are currently attempting to do.

Google Fiber will cut right through this strange, monopolistic arrangement and force every other service provider in the U.S. to begin providing advanced connection speeds for affordable prices — or suffer the consequences. Which means...

4. Better prices for consumers, better products for consumers

With the introduction of Google Fiber, the biggest telecommunications companies will have no choice but to up their game. The bar will be raised for the entire U.S., meaning companies will have to reach that bar if they have any hope of maintaining their dominance. Prices will go down, product quality will go up and the people benefiting the most will be the consumers.

Finally, if the bar goes up...

5. America can finally catch up

The U.S. is far from the worst country in the world in terms of internet service. We are currently ranked 8th, according to the Huffington Post. But the difference between us and No. 1 is impressive.

Consider the aforementioned Comcast package: 500 Mbps for $400 a month. If we compare that to South Korea, ranked first in internet service, we find the same connection available for a mere $30 per month. Not only that but, as (once again) reported by the Huffington Post, consumers in Seoul have a choice between three providers — all of whom will set their connection up in less than a day, thanks to a market filled with cutthroat competition. How much is the same package in Hong Kong? Only $25 per month.

This is the most important aspect of adopting Google Fiber: more competition, better prices, and better products for consumers. Every citizen of Phoenix needs to be aware of the great opportunity the Phoenix area has been offered. We have to start supporting the effort to bring America out of the past and into the future.

Reach the columnist at svshacke@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @sirshackofford

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