Some residents near Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., are getting the first taste of Google's 1-gigabit-per-second broadband service.
The service has been live in the market for about a month, and it will continue to be rolled out to homes in the community, where mostly Stanford professors and faculty live. The service is free to residents for the first year.
Google is building the Stanford fiber-to-the-home network and a larger network in Kansas City, Kansas, as sort of test beds for ultra-high speed broadband. So far, residents in the Stanford community are the first to get access to the high-speed networks that Google is building.
Stanford economics professor Martin Carnoy, who was one of the first people in the neighborhood to get the high-speed access, said he has been loving his new high-speed service. He frequently sends and receives big data files of 20MB or greater from his home computer.
"It used to take several minutes to send big files with the AT&T broadband service I had before," he said. "I felt like I was always waiting around when I was sending or receiving files. But now it takes seconds. There's no waiting."
Carnoy hasn't tested his connection to see how fast the service is, but Engadget reports that at least one Stanford resident says he has tested the network and is getting about 150Mbps download speeds and upload speeds around 92Mbps.
The idea behind the Google Fiber initiative is to provide 100 times faster speed broadband connections to businesses and homes so that entrepreneurs can use these networks to innovate and test new ideas for Internet services and applications.
"High-speed Internet access must be much more widely available," Eric Schmidt, Google's chairman, said when the company first announced the project. "Broadband is a major driver of new jobs and businesses, yet we rank only 15th in the world for access. More government support for broadband remains critical."
Getting broadband and super fast broadband to Americans is a stated goal of the Federal Communications Commission. The agency said in its National Broadband Plan that it plans to extend broadband to every American and it promises to offer 100 Mbps broadband to 100 million people by 2020.
A separate initiative called GigU driven by 29 universities in the U.S. is also looking to build 1Gbps networks in and around universities.
Most major universities already have access to cutting edge Internet technology, and many are involved in research and development networks such as Internet 2, which is used to connect universities throughout the world to share data and test new Internet technologies. But Google Fiber and Gig.U are extending this kind of high speed Internet access outside the university to the private sector.