RALEIGH It’s been roughly two years since Google announced its 1,000-megabits-per-second internet service would come to North Carolina, with both Charlotte and the Triangle Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Morrisville and Garner joining three previous Fiber locations: Kansas City (Kansas and Missouri); Austin, Texas; and Provo, Utah. Since the announcement, signups have also started in Atlanta.To get to this point, Google has had to bury thousands and thousands of miles of fiber cable, a process that has proven an eyesore but one cities hope will be worth its while once back-end installation is complete and the service is available to all those promised a better browsing experience.Google Fiber’s marketing focuses on customers looking for a fast-as-it-can-be internet connection, but there’s more to Fiber than just gigabit capabilities.Google is also offering Fiber TV as part of a bundle, plus Fiber Phone as a $10-a-month add on.The rollout has been slow. Google first offered Fiber in July to limited Charlotte residents, and the recent Triangle offering only applies to the North Hills area of Raleigh.Fiber also isn’t the only show in town. AT&T offers GigaPower, which also features 1,000-mbps speeds, and allows you to bundle it with one of its TV services (either DirecTV or U-Verse) and home phone.The costs are relatively similar. Google’s Fiber 1000 + TV bundle is $160 per month, offering more than 220 channels and DVR capability. On its own, Google Fiber 1000 internet service is $70, and there is also a 100-mbps speed available (Fiber 100) at $50 per month.A similar AT&T U-Verse package comes in a little cheaper to start GigaPower internet with U200 TV service (360 channels) is $140, but it requires a contract (24-month commitment for U-Verse). You can also add home phone for $9.99 per month, but that discount is again tied to the 24-month bundle.Google Fiber has also offered a free internet option that required a one-time $300 hardware and installation fee, but that service has been discontinued to new subscribers in Kansas City, leaving many to wonder if it will remain one of the company’s major selling points.One advantage to Google Fiber is it does not require a contract. If you decide to cut the cord on your TV service, you’re not facing the cancellation fees found with other providers.You’re also not subjected to the frequent price changes associated with services like U-Verse AT&T offers so many discounts and offers that your bill will often fluctuate as older offers expire. You can always get on the phone or chat with a representative to get a better price, and the more you’re willing to haggle the better price you’ll get. But again, any “deal” is usually tied to a commitment to 12 months, on top of the countless hurdles customer service makes you jump through.Google, which did not respond to a request for an interview, will undoubtedly force the competition to up its game wherever it brings Fiber.That not only applies to price, but also customer service. Cable companies have often been derided for their treatment of customers, including in the popular culture with Jim Carrey’s obsessive character in “The Cable Guy,” and “Seinfeld” character Kramer (played by Michael Richards) setting up service times with his provider then dodging the installer during the dreaded four-hour window he was given.Reviews of Google Fiber’s customer service in other cities has been positive, so the established cable companies and ISPs will have to battle Google on customer satisfaction beyond price.In Charlotte, Fiber Business 1000 is available at $250 per month, and residential subscribers can also receive a 20 percent discount on Nest devices (internet-enabled thermostats, smoke and cabin monoxide alarms and indoor security cam), another product owned Alphabet, Google’s parent company.
RALEIGH Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have filed companion bills that raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next four years, and $10 for tipped employees. Raising the […]
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