It is finally happening: Google Fiber is up and running in some places around Provo. Alpine Village is the first BYU student housing apartment complex to get it.
Google Fiber is an Internet service that offers a free tier with download speeds up to 5 Mbps. For $70 per month, download speeds go up to one gigabit per second, or 1,000 Mbps. Television service and download speeds of one gigabit per second are available for $120 per month.
The apartment Bryce Nobles, a sophomore from Boulder, Colo., lives in has the 1-Gbps package. Over WiFi, speeds are around 200 Mbps. That falls in line with what Google advises customers to expect over WiFi, which has significantly lower download speeds than a wired connection via Ethernet would.
“It’s really worth it. Any time of the day, you can just go home and study without worrying about your Internet connection cutting out,” Nobles said. “It kind of opens up a whole new world of what you can do in life. I make a lot of videos, and they upload to YouTube so much more quickly now.”
Kent Engstrom, a sophomore, Nobles’ roommate, likes Google Fiber but doesn’t find it worth the extra expense.
“I enjoy it, but I don’t pay for it,” Engstrom said. “I wouldn’t have gone out and bought it personally. It’s not worth $70 a month to me. But if it’s there and it’s free, I love it. At this stage in my life, it’s not worth it, especially considering that I already had Internet. I still study on campus anyway.”
Adam Wilhelm, a senior studying German, lives in a different apartment in Alpine Village and also has Google Fiber with a 1-Gbps package. However, download speeds are not as robust in this apartment, with speeds averaging between 50 and 70 Mbps. There was an error made during installation, and Google Fiber is scheduled come to troubleshoot at a later date.
Breyden Peel, a sophomore studying exercise science, has access to the free tier.
“With Veracity (the old Internet service provider), you’re sharing (a line) with the whole apartment complex,” Peel said. “With Google Fiber, you just have your own line that you share with your apartment. It’s a lot more consistent. Before, when watching videos, it would have to buffer every minute, but now it runs pretty smoothly.”
Alpine Village residents do not have to pay the $30 construction fee normally associated with the installation of Google Fiber.
Google Fiber’s expansion to Provo was announced April 17.