When Google Fiber originally launched in Kansas City, the company offered several options, including symmetrical gigabit broadband for $70, and TV and symmetrical broadband for $120 (now $130). But the company also offered a third option: a symmetrical 5 Mbps tier that was free after users paid a $300 installation fee — which could be paid off in $10 monthly installments. That last option was a nice option for low-income homes that didn’t need gigabit speeds but were just looking to get on the Internet.
Instead, users now have the option of signing up for a symmetrical 100 Mbps service for $50 a month. We saw the 100 Mbps, $50 option first spring up during the company’s partial-launch in Atlanta. For now, the free option appears to still be available in the company’s Provo, Utah and Austin, Texas markets.
There’s several things that could be at play here. Google Fiber may have found that the free tier was preventing users from signing up for more expensive services. The company may also be responding to the fact that the FCC has raised the technical definition of broadband to 25 Mbps. It may also no longer feel the free tier is necessary now that it’s providing free gigabit speeds to low income housing developments in some markets.