Google Fiber starts signups in Provo for 1 Gig Internet, pay-TV service

Google has kicked off signups for its Google Fiber service in Provo, Utah, where it purchased the existing iProvo fiber network for a song (okay, actually it paid $1); it’s offering residents a trio of Internet and pay-TV plans that will challenge incumbents Comcast and CenturyLink.

Initially, Google Fiber will offer customers who lived along the route of the old iProvo network two options for its super-fast 1 Gigabit Internet:

  • For $70 a month, users get a 1 Gig Internet connection with unlimited usage.
  • For $120, the Internet + TV plan delivers 1 Gig Internet and a full array of HD and SD channels, a storage box that can record up to 8 shows at once and hold up to 500 hours of HD content.

Google is also offering a basic plan with 5Mbps download, 1 Mbps upload for a $30 installation fee. That service is free for at least seven years, Google says.

As in Kansas City, the install will be in “waves” that will start rolling across the city next month, Google said. The target for the complete install citywide is the end of the year.

Google’s approach to the install is to set deadlines for neighborhoods to sign up. That way they limit the number of truck rolls they have to make and can simply blitz one area at a time with multiple crews to handle the build out. It hopes that by offering the “free” package with a minimal install fee, it will be able to saturate the city and eliminate the headache of having to roll for scattered installs. 

The down side? If a homeowner doesn’t commit to at least the basic package, they get passed by, and Google says it currently doesn’t plan to go back and re-open “fiberhood” sign ups. But, as MultichannelNews pointed out, Google did open up nearly 200 Fiberhoods for late sign ups last year.

Google also is following the strategy is took to in K.C. by opening up Fiber Space stores in the area so residents can come in and demo the service, check out its TV service and ask questions directly. The stores were a huge hit in Kansas City, showing there’s still room for the personal touch in the pay-TV industry.

Google Fiber is slated to roll into Austin, Texas, later this year – a move that prompted AT&T to offer its own 1 Gigabit Internet plan in the city, which has been a huge success. The telco this week said it would double the rollout in response to demand.

To its credit, Comcast hasn’t sat on its hands in Provo, announcing plans in October to rollout Utah’s first widespread public Wi-Fi network… based, of course, in Provo and Ogden.

The “public” network is only free for Comcast subs, but why worry the details?

The cable company — the largest in the U.S. — also has taken some other steps to battle Google in the Provo area, bumping broadband speeds to include a 250 Mbps tier and planning to try out some “new packages and rates to see what works in certain areas.”

DSLReports in August said Comcast was offering Provo residents a Digital Premier channel bundle, 105 Mbps service, and either Xfinity Voice or Xfinity Home Secure for $120 a month for three years.

Here’s the Google Fiber blog post.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn