Various reports have figured that Google has dropped its free basic service from Kansas’ respective website — the first Fiber-enabled city in the country — and instead has supplanted it with a 100Mbps option, available for $50 per month.
Google has been experimenting with ultra-fast Internet service, the Fiber, for three years now, and, evidently, the company believes that the service’s testing period has expired — it is time to make some money out of it.
As aforementioned, Google was offering a free option that was providing customers with 5Mbps speed, if they were willing to cover the construction fee. Kansas, Austin and Provo were the three areas that were eligible for this service in particular.
As Engadget has correctly pointed out, this move will not affect Google’s initiative to provide low-income areas with free internet.
The story emerged a few hours ago, at the time of writing, so Google has still not issued an official response to the matter at hand, however, Recode estimates that the search engine giant’s decision could reflect a wider shift in the strategy that is being followed with the Fiber project. Last February, AT&T’s gigabit internet made waves into Kansas, Google Fiber’s starting point, increasing competition against Google.
Besides the $50 per month for the 100Mbps variant, the top tier option is the full gigabit speed, which runs at 1,000Mbps, setting customers back $70, a fee that cannot be afforded by a substantial number of households. With that in mind, it wouldn’t surprise us if Google were to launch a broader selection of options, with some of them designed to be more budget-friendly orientated.
Furthermore, customers that have already signed-up for the free basics internet service can keep it if they tell Google by May 19.