Google Fiber's Webpass Launches $60/Month Gigabit Service in Seattle

Google Fiber’s  Webpass unit has activated fixed wireless internet access service to a building in Seattle, with a retail cost of $60 a month for symmetrical gigabit per second internet access.

The Webpass installation, serving 146 living units, actually uses direct fixed wireless access, not an optical connection, and the building already is wired for internal distribution. Webpass says it plans to similarly connect 100 more over a year’s time.

It is hard, and likely unfair, to compare internet access infrastructure costs to serve a single high-rise building with the cost of serving individual consumer homes. That is simply because getting access to the basement of a high rise building using optical fiber or fixed wireless connection involves one “access” connection, and then riser cabling to reach multiple dwelling units.

That typically is a less-capital-intensive operation than cabling individual homes directly.

Historically, fiber to the curb (in many markets) has been cost effective, compared to use of 4G mobile, at home densities higher than about 210 homes per square mile, according to Delta Partners. That analysis will change with 5G, in all likelihood making 5G a better option in more cases.

Fiber to the home involves higher costs, so LTE arguably works across a wider range of use cases as well, assuming retail pricing and usage patterns are relatively light, in terms of consumed gigabytes per month.



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