Yes, Google Fiber is only being launched in Kansas City so far. And sure, there’s not much hope that it will spread across the entire country for the near future. But that doesn’t mean Google’s (GOOG) insanely fast 1Gbps fiber network shouldn’t be pushing cable companies and other ISPs to up their games in terms of both service quality and pricing.
Consider the ridiculously awesome value that lucky Kansas City residents are getting: For just $120 a month and a two-year service agreement, Google Fiber subscribers get a 1Gbps fiber-to-the-home connection, hundreds of fiber television channels on-demand and in full HD, and a full terabyte of storage on Google Drive. What’s more, Google is selling customers this service with no broadband caps or overage fees. Yes, that’s right: People who subscribe to Google Fiber will never be punished for using the service too much.
For comparison, look at Comcast’s (CMSCA) latest “platinum” broadband tier that delivers an impressive 305Mbps connectivity but that costs a whopping $300 per month and has a 250GB monthly data cap. Verizon (VZ), meanwhile, offers its FiOS subscribers a 300Mbps top tier that costs $200 a month. If Google brought its fiber network to your neighborhood and you had to choose between it, Xfinity and FiOS, would you even take a millisecond before bashing down Google’s door and begging them to rig your home with fiber?
And really, this is why Google Fiber is important, even if it never reaches beyond Kansas City: It demonstrates not only how slow most home broadband connections are but how overpriced they are as well. And if Google is correct that fiber-caliber speeds will be key to America remaning economically competitive over the next century, then both business and consumer demand for such high-speed networks will be absolutely huge in the coming years. And if the big-name ISPs don’t feel like keeping up, then Google has shown that big-name tech companies can capably replace them.