Google Fiber pulls plug on 100 Mbps service to go 'all in on a Gig'

Google Fiber Nashville
Google Fiber is focusing on its gigabit services going forward by eliminating its 100 Mbps service to new subscribers. (Google)

Google Fiber announced this week it was pulling the plug on its 100 Mbps service to new customers in order to just offer its gigabit service.

Google Fiber's $50-per-month internet plan is grandfathered in for its existing customers, but the company said the focus would be on its gigabit service going forward.

"We are excited to turn our attention back to our gig service, still offered for $70/month — the exact same price it cost back in 2012 when we first launched," Google Fiber said in its announcement. "Backed by the power of a gig, our customers are able to fully enjoy the endless opportunities the Internet presents.

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"And even if you don’t think you need a gig now, we think you will in the very near future: Internet usage in U.S. households is growing exponentially. With a gig, we’ll give you plenty of room to grow."

The 100 Mbps plan, which has been offered since at least 2016, has grown long in the tooth in an era of gigabit services throughout the U.S. With the deployment of 1 Gbps speeds across 80% of the U.S., the cable industry is ramping up to 10G speeds by using a combination of HFC, Wi-Fi, DOCSIS 4.0, and fiber-to-the premise technologies. 

In 2010, Google rattled cable operators' cages when it first announced its plan to deploy a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) internet service with speeds of up to a gigabit per second, which was 100 times faster than the average speeds of that era.

Google Fiber first installed its service in the Kansas City area in 2012. Google Fiber drew a direct bead on Time Warner Cable with that first rollout. (Earlier this year, some K.C. subscribers went without their Google Fiber service for up to 10 days following a storm.) Google Fiber subsequently targeted areas served by Comcast and AT&T for additional fiber deployments.

Google Fiber's symmetrical, gigabit service is a good match for other Alphabet-owned entities, such as YouTube and cloud-gaming platform Google Stadia, the latter of which will include 8K streams at 120 frames per second in the near future.

While Google's uncapped gigabit service is attractive, it's not widely available. Google Fiber pulled back on its FTTP expansions to new markets in the fall of 2016 in order to focus on its existing deployments.

Google Fiber mounted a comeback of sorts in 2017 with deployments in Huntsville, Alabama; Louisville, Kentucky; and San Antonio, Texas. Google Fiber said it would continue to sign up and install customers in the remaining cities it serves, which also include Austin, Texas; Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; Orange County, California; and Salt Lake City/Provo, Utah.

RELATED: Editor's Corner—Google Fiber says 'adiós' to Louisville

Earlier this year, in a rare setback, Google Fiber pulled up stakes in Louisville, Kentucky after its shallow-trenching efforts led to numerous problems. Google Fiber subsequently agreed to pay $3.84 million to make amends in Louisville.

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