What Could Google Fiber Mean for Your Small Business

If you depend heavily on the internet or want to embrace more cloud solutions and video, this fiber optic service may be for you.
Is Google's new internet infrastructure right for your small business? (Photo: Paul Sableman/Shutterstock)

Internet access is probably essential for your business. But if your experience reflects the American average, your service can be slow or unreliable. Is Google Fiber a solution?

For the last few years, Google has been slowly rolling out its own internet infrastructure. Offering much faster performance — up to 10 times faster — than all other available mainstream options at roughly the same price you’re probably already paying, it’s an alternative worth investigating if you happen to be in one of the handful of rollout cities.

Satisfying the need for speed


“[Google Fiber] differs from traditional broadband like cable or DSL in that it’s not old infrastructure rigged up to deliver internet service.” -Matt Miller (Photo: Matt Miller)

Google Fiber is built on an end-to-end fiber optic cable infrastructure. “It differs from traditional broadband like cable or DSL in that it’s not old infrastructure rigged up to deliver internet service. It’s purpose built with the future of Internet service in mind,” said Matt Miller, director of business development at IT Freedom.

While the national average for internet access speed is about 11.5 megabits per second, Google Fiber is designed to deliver a top speed of 1,000 Mbps when you pay for the highest tier of service.

Like cable internet, Google Fiber is a shared network. But Miller said the system’s bandwidth is so high “your network’s speed will never be affected by other customers. There’s so much bandwidth that even if everyone was online at once for some historic event, it wouldn’t be able to saturate the network.”

As a Google promotional video notes, if you own a popular cafe, your own customers will never have a problem getting online due to lack of bandwidth, no matter how much bandwidth you’re using in the back of house.

Where is it?

If you don’t live in one of a handful of cities, you may be waiting a long time for Google Fiber. Currently, it is operational in Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Kansas City (both Kansas and Missouri), Nashville, and Provo, with more cities coming in the near future, including Huntsville, Raleigh-Durham, San Francisco, Salt Lake City and San Antonio.

Additional cities are slated after that, but Google has so far not been in a rush to deploy. It has a web page set up where, after checking your eligibility, you can sign up for news and notifications about future Fiber rollouts.

Google offers both residential and commercial service plans for businesses located in service areas. Initially, it offered an Early Access Program to on-board small businesses at 1Gbps, but that program was terminated in July 2016. Now businesses can sign on with one of three tiers of service:

  • Fiber Business 100. Includes 100 Mbps upload and download speeds for $70/month.
  • Fiber Business 250. Features 250 Mbps of connectivity for $100/month.
  • Fiber Business 1000. This is Google’s highest speed offering, clocking in at 1000 Mbps (or 1Gbps) for $250/month.

These plans are all inclusive and month-to-month; there’s no annual service contracts, rental fees for networking hardware or monthly data caps.

The Fiber advantage

Some IT professionals and business customers say Google Fiber fundamentally changes the way you use your internet connection. Because you get such high speed at a reasonable rate, “this opens the door for using all sorts of cloud solutions that you could not consider again… backups, file sharing, video and more,” said Dustin Bolander, CIO of Technology Pointe.

Cloud services like backup and video may be inexpensive on their own but require more bandwidth than you could previously get reliably and affordably.

Google Fiber may be a boon even to people who don’t buy the service. It’s bringing competition to cities that have suffered under rigid monopolies for business class internet service. Bolander said, “Here in Austin we have seen some of Google’s competitors cut prices by as much as 50 percent in response to the hype that accompanies Google Fiber.”

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