Why you want Google Fiber

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(CNN) — This week, tech giant Google made it official: Google Fiber is coming to Austin. Residents of the hip Texas city will be the beneficiaries of Internet speeds of 1-gigabit, roughly 100 times faster than current speeds.

In Kansas City, where the service launched last fall, 1-gigabit service costs $70 per month. For $120 per month, consumers get Google’s TV service in addition to gigabit speeds. The company also offers seven years of free Internet service at current (5 mbps) speeds, after a $300 installation fee.

It’s entirely possible that Google Fiber could cost more in the future, but for now Google says it expects prices in Austin to be “roughly similar to Kansas City.”

Here are five reasons why you should want Google Fiber to come to your city as well.

Goodbye buffering: It’s the bane of Internet users everywhere. How many times have you been watching a video on YouTube or elsewhere on the Web, only to have the stream freeze up, forcing you to sit there like a chump while you wait for the video to resume?

Slate’s Farhad Manjoo describes a Google Fiber demonstration in which a company official played five high-definition YouTube videos simultaneously without a hitch. Most users are unlikely to watch five videos at the same time, but the point stands: With Google Fiber’s gigabit speeds, say goodbye to buffering.

And it’s not just YouTube: Imagine being able to download a full-length high-definition movie in a matter of seconds.
(MORE: Report: Google Fiber heading to Austin as cities race to boost Web speeds)

The price is right: It’s hard to beat free. Let’s say you’re content with your current broadband speeds and if you don’t want to pay for a gigabit. Google is offering at least seven years of free Internet service at current national average broadband speeds of 5 mbps, after a one-time $300 installation fee.
Now, suppose you pay $60 per month for your current broadband service. That’s $720 per year, or more than $5,000 over the course of seven years. With Google Fiber’s basic service, you’re saving more than $4,700.

Needless to say, this could go a long way toward making broadband service affordable in low-income communities, which, in turn, could help close the digital divide.

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