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San Francisco (AFP) July 26, 2012
Google on Thursday unveiled an ultrafast Web service along with an Internet television subscription in the Kansas City area as part of a pilot project to boost broadband speeds.
The Google Fiber superfast broadband network will be available starting in September, with one-gigabyte per second speeds -- about 100 times faster than most current Internet subscriptions.
The wired home project will allow people to replace cable television and Internet with a single subscription to be controlled by a Google tablet computer, which will be offered for free.
"Google Fiber is 100 times faster than today's average broadband," Google vice president Milo Medin said.
"No more buffering. No more loading. No more waiting. Gigabit speeds will get rid of these pesky, archaic problems and open up new opportunities for the web. Imagine: instantaneous sharing; truly global education; medical appointments with 3D imaging; even new industries that we haven't even dreamed of, powered by a gig."
The packages offered will include not only Internet but "regular TV, the kind you could only get from your cable provider," as well as on-demand programs, Medin told the kickoff event.
Google said it was offering a full ultrafast Internet and television package for $120 a month, with waived installation fees and a free tablet. It also will offer Internet only for $70 a month.
It will also offer free Internet at the current speed of five megabytes per second but will charge an installation fee.
Google asked residents to register to determine the neighborhoods where the project will be introduced in Kansas City, Kansas, and neighboring Kansas City, Missouri.
It was not immediately clear when or if Google would expand the project to other US cities.
Google announced its plan to build an experimental high-speed Internet network two years ago, saying the United States had fallen behind other major nations in broadband speed and access.
"Fast is better than slow. On the web, nobody wants to wait for a video to buffer or a website to load," Medin said.
"Abundance is better than scarcity. There's a plethora of rich content available online -- and it's increasingly only available to people who have the speeds and means to access it."
Federal Communications Commission chief Julius Genachowski praised the Google effort.
"For the United States to remain globally competitive, we need to keep pushing the boundaries of broadband capabilities and foster testbeds of broadband innovation," he said in a statement.
"Abundance in broadband speeds and capacity -- moving from megabits to gigabits -- will unleash breakthrough innovations in healthcare, education, business services, and more."
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