We went probably 10 years without cable TV, then splurged a couple years ago — HBO, Showtime, the works — to catch up (and keep up) with our favorite shows. Then we got sucked into other channels that made it “difficult” to cancel, such as Fox Sports Southwest for all the Spurs games this year. Sadly that final reason ended Saturday night as the Spurs lost to the Clippers in the final seconds of game 7, wrapping up the greatest first-round matchup I’ve ever seen.
Time Warner will try almost anything to keep you as a customer. 30 minutes and 3 phone calls later, we’re cable TV free but still have internet with them, upgraded to 200 Mbps. To offset our loss of channels, we’ve got TNT, AMC, and HBO through Sling TV. It’s significantly cheaper and we can have a small Roku in the living room instead of a giant, loud, overheating DVR box.
Google Fiber is coming to Austin next year, with crazy-fast 1 Gbps speeds. It was all over the local news in Austin yesterday.
Although I’ve been trying to slowly move off of Google services, this would probably be too good a deal to pass up. However, it seems very unlikely that my neighborhood — which is in the city limits, but pretty far away from central Austin — will get fiber anytime soon. Definitely not in the first year. From the Statesman’s FAQ:
“The coverage is limited to the city of Austin, although Google did not get specific about geographic boundaries. Representatives said they don’t have plans to add Round Rock, Kyle or San Antonio as part of this roll-out. In addition to homes, Google will also provide Gigabit to about 100 public organizations that the city of Austin has helped choose.”
We don’t even yet have Verizon FiOS in our neighborhood, and that has been rolling out in the Austin area for a while now. Time Warner Cable is still the dominant provider.
Another interesting angle to the announcement: each Google Fiber customer also gets 1 terabyte of Google Drive storage. This sounded like a fantastic deal until I checked the normal Google Drive plans. They already have a 1 TB plan at $50/month, with more expensive options all the way up to 16 TB. (Dropbox stops at 500 GB unless you jump to their business-level “teams” plan.)
Maybe that is the first killer app for fiber. Not syncing files, as Dropbox pioneered, but cloud storage that is fast enough to be more like an extension of your local hard drive than a mirror of it. Something like Apple’s Fusion Drive, but where the slow hard drive is the cloud, and the SSD is just a local cache.