Last week there was an announcement that Google Fiber was going to roll out to four new cities. Those are Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville and Raleigh-Durham, all part of an expanding tech corridor in the south.

However, very obviously missing from the map is the entire Midwest, including Detroit. With self-described speeds up to 100x the speed of the average broadband connection in the United States, any cities who get this service are at an economic and educational advantage in a variety of ways, including having an option other than the dominant cable or phone provider for fast internet.

The costs, too, are in line or less than a cable connection that provides less throughput. For instance, in Provo, Utah, you can get just Internet with 1,000 megabits per second for both uploads and downloads for $70 a month.

Google Fiber vs. XFINITY Internet pricing

Here in Detroit, 105 Mbps (about one tenth the speed Google offers) is $89.99, and after a year pops up to $114.95 a month when you read the fine print, not to mention there’s a data cap.

Again, for about one tenth of the product, with restrictions on your usage, and it costs significantly more.

In Kansas City, for Google Fiber, if you pay the $300 construction fee (which can be paid in $25 monthly installments), you get 5mbps … free. Yes, free.

That might just help the fact that 39% of Detroit households don’t have access to Internet of any kind. Maybe non-profits, foundations and business community can partner together to set the table.

Now, we all know the city itself has a lot of financial issues, but I’m thinking Google and Google Fiber isn’t just about the business case. It takes a lot of customers to make up for the large investment that is installing or activating fiber. They’re out to make a space and market – and make a difference.

And where else would be best to make that difference than in Detroit? There’s certain things our region can’t control, like having winter, that would dissuade people from coming or staying. But we can control connectivity.

Few like the virtual monopoly we have going on with Comcast. Unless you’re going to settle for slower, more unreliable DSL over phone lines, you have only one option. Opening up competition would drive down prices and hopefully up the service. Doing a quick review of Comcast, they have a shining one-star. Google Fiber? Four stars.

There’s no reason the suburbs couldn’t be wired and benefit immensely from this, too. The monopoly extends over the region and costs are out of control, as anyone who has paid a cable bill recently can attest. In case you were wondering, Google Fiber has cable services too, throwing in the whole kit and caboodle for $120 a month.

If experience is any indication, the second someone like Google shows up to change the game, lobbyists of all kinds will descend on the state and the city. For the good of the residents, they should be ignored. And, we know they’re willing to spend and ghostwrite letters for them.

Right now we are setting the course for the next 25 or 50 years for our city and region. In a time when we’re putting resources into building infrastructure that will be part of Detroit’s future, we need build connectivity whether it’s with Google Fiber or another solution.

Share this post