By Jon Fingas
Google Fiber's sudden revival will include a dramatic boost to internet speeds. Google has revealed that it will offer 5Gbps and 8Gbps plans in early 2023 at respective monthly rates of $125 and $150. Both tiers will include symmetric upload and download rates, a WiFi 6 router and up to two mesh network extenders. The upgrades should help with massive file transfers while keeping lag and jittering to a bare minimum, according to the company.
Current customers, particularly in Kansas City, Utah and West Des Moines, can try the speedier plans as soon as November if they sign up to become "trusted testers." If you're eligible, Google will ask you how you expect to use the extra bandwidth.
This is a big jump from the previous-best 2Gbps service Google introduced in 2020, and could make a big difference if you're a gamer or thrive on cloud computing. If a 150GB Microsoft Flight Simulator download takes 11 minutes at 2Gbps, the 8Gbps plan could cut that wait to less than three minutes in ideal conditions. It certainly makes typical cable internet plans seem expensive. Comcast is already offering 6Gbps service in some areas, for instance, but that costs $300 per month on contract and doesn't yet include symmetric uploads.
Either way, the new plans represent a declaration of intent. Alongside the first network expansions in five years, the upgraded speeds suggest Google is getting back to Fiber's roots. That is, it's both raising expectations for truly fast internet access and (to a degree) spurring competition among incumbent providers. This could help Google pitch its other services, of course, but you might not mind if it gives telecoms an extra incentive to roll out '10G' and similar upgrades sooner than they might have otherwise.