Google Fiber started off with a simple enough premise: providing lightning-fast internet and TV service to customers at reasonable prices. Given that many Americans have just one or two ISPs serving their area (usually, with just one of them offering serviceable internet speeds), the promise of gigabit internet from Google at $70/month was hard to pass up.
Last week, however, it was revealed that the TV portion of Google Fiber is being eliminated from future rollouts of the service. In a blog post, Google explained that in its newest markets, Louisville and San Antonio, it will not be providing optional TV service. “More and more people are moving away from traditional methods of viewing television content,” said Google Fiber’s Cathy Fogler. “Customers today want to control what, where, when, and how they get content.
Fogler goes on to add that Google Fiber allows customers to enjoy the aforementioned streaming services at the highest quality settings across multiple devices in your home. It’s also quite possible that Google Fiber simply hasn’t seen a high take rate for the TV add-on, which has probably drawn a watchful eye from parent company Alphabet. Louisville and San Antonio may be the first market to launch with a complementary TV service, but it also appears that Google is trying to push its existing TV subscribers off the train as well.
The Charlotte Observer reports that Google Fiber is raising the price of its Fiber 1000 + TV from $130/month to $150/month starting in December. In an email to customers, Google Fiber told Charlotte, NC residents “The cost of providing TV programming continues to rise” as an explanation for the cost hike.
However, the sticker shock will be even more for new subscribers to Fiber 1000 + TV service in Charlotte. They will have to pay $160 per month for the same service.
Google has slowly spread its gigabit internet service to major metropolitan areas across the United States over the past seven years. However, its announcement of new “Fiber Cities” has stalled for the past year due to difficulties in establishing the service in some regions, legal challenges from competitors like AT&T and Comcast, and the overall expense of building out its network. In the future, Google Fiber hopes to use wireless internet technology that it gained from its Webpass acquisition to further build out its network.