Google Fiber Review 2019

Google Fiber offers extraordinary speeds at competitive prices, if you live in the right place.
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Price range:
$50–$70/mo.*
Speeds:
100–1000 Mbps
Data cap:
Unlimited

When I moved back to my hometown of Salt Lake City a few years ago, I found that it wasn’t the same podunk town I’d grown up in. There were now craft breweries, startup tech companies, and the fashion trends were only half a decade behind San Francisco.

But I realized we’d truly made it into the big leagues when I heard that Google had chosen Salt Lake as one of the places to test its new Fiber internet service. Of course, I signed up. And I haven’t regretted it.

Google Fiber provides affordable, fast, and reliable internet that does seem to live up to the hype. The biggest problem is that it still hasn’t landed in many places across the country. (Not every town can be as hip as Salt Lake City . . . right?)

Pros

  • Fast network
  • Affordable
  • Month-to-month contracts

Cons

  • Limited availability

Google Fiber prices and plans

Google wants my money? Can’t I just give it more of my personal information?

Google Fiber has two types of plans: Fiber and Webpass. Fiber operates like most other internet service providers (ISPs), by hooking up internet in individual residences. Webpass is a unique sort of internet service that is available only in certain apartment and office buildings (more on that below).

Google Fiber plans
PlanPrice Download speedDetails
Fiber 100$50/mo.*100 MbpsView Plan
Fiber 1000$70/mo.*1,000 MbpsView Plan
Webpass$60/mo.*100–1000 Mbps (depending on location)View Plan

Data effective 05/24/19. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Plus taxes and fees. Service not available in all areas

As you can see, Google has a less-is-more philosophy when it comes to its plans. If you’re in a Fiber service area, you’re either going to get 100 Mbps (enough bandwidth for a small family) or 1000 Mbps (enough bandwidth for a small business). If you’re in a Webpass service area, you’re limited to just one plan option.

Info Box icon
How fast is 100 Mbps, really?
Not sure how much speed you really need? Check out our Mbps guide.

That means if you use your home internet only for updating your OkCupid profile and binging Jane the Virgin (admit it, you’re hooked), then you might want to consider companies with some slower, cheaper options, like Xfinity.

As for the price, Google’s Fiber 100 is in the average range when compared to similar plans (Verizon does offer a cheaper 100 Mbps fiber option). But the company’s Fiber 1000 plan is possibly the cheapest gigabit-speed plan available in the United States. That’s real nice.

And what about this whole Webpass thing? Let us explain.

Google Fiber and Webpass

Google’s sluggish pace in rolling out its internet service definitely ruffled a few feathers. Maybe that’s why Google bought a company called Webpass to extend its service footprint into major cities like Miami, Seattle, and Atlanta.

Megaphone icon
Do I even have Google Fiber where I live?
Want to know if Google Fiber or Webpass is available in your area? Use Google Fiber’s tool to find out.

In these cities, Google Fiber uses Webpass’ network technology. Rather than running a cable into your house, Webpass has an extensive network of tower-to-tower wireless relays that connect nearby apartments and office buildings to a central hub.

This means Webpass is only available in equipped buildings, and your internet speed will depend entirely on your building’s infrastructure. It’s certainly not traditional internet, but it can be a screamin’ deal for gigabit speeds if you live in the right place.

Google Fiber Bundles

Not surprisingly, Google Fiber has limited (as in two) bundling options. Both options will get you HD-quality DVR, built-in Google Cast (so you can stream to your TV), and one free TV box rental. And you can opt to pay for additional premium channels if you want ‘em.

Google Fiber bundles
PlanPriceDownload speedChannelsDetails
Fiber 100 + TV$140/mo.*100 Mbps150+View Plan
Fiber 1000 + TV$160/mo.*1000 Mbps150+View Plan
Home Phone+$10/mo.*N/AN/AView Plan

Data effective 05/24/19. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Plus taxes and fees. Service not available in all areas.

Google is a bit of a noob in the telecommunications industry, which makes it hard to compete with giants like AT&T that can bundle together offerings from multiple subsidiaries (like DIRECTV).

Our Google Fiber internet plan recommendations

Fiber 100

Who it’s best for: Small families, college students, young professionals

Why we picked it: I might be partial to Fiber 100 because it’s the plan I use. We frequently have three or four people on the internet at the same time at my house and we’ve experienced no lagging or connection issues. That’s more than I can say for our previous ISP (*cough* CenturyLink *cough*).

Fiber 100
Price*SpeedData capDetails
$50/mo.*100 MbpsUnlimitedView Plan

Data effective 05/24/19. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Plus taxes and fees. Service not available in all areas.

Fiber 1000

Who it’s best for: Gamers, home-businesses, large families

Why we picked it: If you want a fast internet plan, this is the cream of the crop, the pick of the litter, the whole kit and caboodle. Not only is Fiber 1000 one of the country’s best gigabit internet plans, it also tends to be the most affordable. This plan could go toe-to-toe with any of the top gaming ISPs and probably win.

Fiber 1000
Price*SpeedData capDetails
$70/mo.*1000 MbpsUnlimitedView Plan

Data effective 05/24/19. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Plus taxes and fees. Service not available in all areas.

Google Fiber internet speed and data

Google is setting the bar with gigabit speeds, unlimited data, and a fully fiber-optic network.

Some have suggested that Google developed Fiber just to spur competition in the ISP market, raising speeds for all internet users.1 Higher user speeds means more revenue for Google (which owns Youtube and many other online services).

Well, if that was Google’s goal, then it worked. Ever since Google’s announcement in 2009, there’s been a sort of race to the top among ISPs to develop gigabit speed internet networks. No one wants to lag behind in an industry that’s based on speed.

But the question is, now that other companies have started catching up, how does Google Fiber compare?

Google Fiber speeds
PlanDownload speedUpload speedData capLearn more
Fiber 100100 Mbps100 MbpsUnlimitedView Plans
Fiber 10001,000 Mbps1000 MbpsUnlimitedView Plans
Webpass100–1000 Mbps100–1000 MbpsUnlimitedView Plans

Data effective 05/24/19. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Just by looking at the numbers—100 and 1000 Mbps—it’s clear that Fiber offers fast internet. But speed isn’t just about the numbers. If your ISP is unreliable or has a data cap, you could miss the new Walking Dead episode no matter how many Mbps you’ve paid for.

Fortunately for Fiber customers, Google’s service runs on a brand-spankin’-new fiber-optic network that provides reliability, symmetrical upload/download speeds, and no data caps. Fiber-optic networks will almost always beat out older cable networks, no matter what the advertised speeds are.

Fiber’s superior speeds are evident when you look at Speedtest’s ISP rankings.2 While Google Fiber doesn’t place nationwide because its footprint is too small, it beats even the fastest ISPs in almost every city where it’s available.

Google Fiber fees, contracts, and equipment

You know, all the stuff your ISP hopes you’ll forget about.

Google Fiber service contracts

Contracts. Companies love ‘em, people hate ‘em.

You do have to sign a contract with Google Fiber, but this contract is relatively simple. Google Fiber offers just a single one-size-fits-all month-to-month contract with basically zero extra fees.

For its Webpass services, Google Fiber offers a month-to-month contract or a discounted yearly rate for its customers.

Google Fiber service fees

Google Fiber claims to have no hidden fees—and, in fact, that seems to be the case.

  • Installation fees: Fiber plans will sometimes charge a “construction fee” if installation requires extra work. (For what it’s worth, I never had to pay this for my residence.) Webpass has no installation fees.
  • Early termination fees: None! For real.

Google Fiber equipment and fees

We’re going to award a few bonus points to Fiber here for offering free fiber jacks and Wi-Fi network boxes to their customers (though you have to pay if you want more than one).

You can also get online with Webpass without renting any extra equipment. However, if you want Wi-Fi with Webpass, you’ll have to provide your own router. (We recommend this TP-Link AC1750 Smart Wi-Fi Router from Amazon.)

Google Fiber customer service

It’s almost as helpful as a Google search.

Google Fiber has helped revolutionize the home-internet industry. However, it’s still a telecommunications company, and that means customer service complaints.

You can find plenty of horror stories online—mostly about installation and billing issues—from people who signed up for Google Fiber. But I challenge you to find a company that doesn’t have similar online complaints.

While Google Fiber certainly has its issues, a Consumer Reports survey suggests that customers are happier with Google than with pretty much any other ISP.3

You can also contact Google Fiber online here:

Recap: Is Google Fiber good?

A simple, reliable, and truly fast internet service with limited availability

As an objective researcher, I can say that Google Fiber is good. As a personal user, I can say that Google Fiber is great.

But even great services have their blind spots. And Google Fiber’s biggest blind spot is most of the United States. Until the company can get better coverage in suburban and rural areas, it will never be a real leader in the ISP world.

Fiber also lacks a variety of plan options. If you’re just in the market for a cheap, low-speed internet package for streaming Netflix, then you might want to check out some other options.

But if you do live in the company’s service area and you want gigabit internet speeds, then Google’s affordable Fiber 1000 plan is nearly unbeatable. At least, that’s our take. We’d love to hear yours too. Share your questions, concerns, and stories about Google Fiber in the comments section!

Sources

1. Harvard Business Review, “Why Google Fiber Is High-Speed Internet’s Most Successful Failure
2. Speed Test, “Reports—United States
3. Consumer Reports, Inc., “People Still Don’t Like Their Cable Companies