Google Fiber for Lake Charles
By Jordan Waldmeier | 1/21/2015
“What is the Internet?” A question that I had asked many years ago, and I’m sure others at some point have asked as well. I can’t exactly pinpoint it, but I’m sure it was the early to mid 90’s when I first heard the wonderful sound of the 56k dial-up. These days, it’s a sound mostly reserved for conservative office-dwelling Luddites clinging to their fax machines. Sure, I was grateful to be a part of the early Internet days, especially with the advent of services like AOL that opened up the world to me, but it was destined to be dominated by something greater. In walks Ethernet.
Now, I remember the exact moment I was introduced to Ethernet. The year was 2001; I went to visit my brothers who were in college a couple of hours away from where I lived. My brother let me play a first person shooter game called “Counter-Strike” ,or, as I like to call it: “The-Game-That-Gave-Me-Insomnia.” I was amazed at the game itself, and then he told me that I was playing with real-life other people. The metaphorical record came to a screeching halt. What? How? He shows me the coaxial cable leading into a modem, and, sure enough, it’s Ethernet connected to the computer. I became an expert on cable Internet that weekend, and shortly after, installed it in my own* home. In 14 years, our human minds have developed the technology of cable/Ethernet to accomplish great feats, like a little thing called “WiFi”. It’s the mystical magic that we all know of and use constantly throughout our daily lives. But, is it our pinnacle? Can it be trumped? Can we fly higher? Welcome our next contender, Google Fiber.
In Walks the Outlaw
No, it’s not a new cereal to improve your bowel movements that Jamie-Lee Curtis would be proud to endorse. It is speed. One might ask, "how much faster can it be than cable?" Currently, my computer averages an Internet download speed of 29 Mbps (megabits-per-second); a pretty decent speed allowing me to use several devices with minimal lag and buffering. Fiber, on the other hand, offers up to 1 gigabit; that’s 1,000 Mbps. Yes, you read that right, 1,000 Mbps! Do you understand what that means? Imagine the story of the “Tortoise and the Hare” where your current cable is the tortoise and Fiber is the hare, but this hare happens to have a rocket strapped to his back, disintegrating the tortoise in his path and winning the race in milliseconds.
Fiber's speed averages 100 times faster than what most Americans are receiving currently with cable broadband. What is possible with this speed? Say you want to watch a 2 hour long high definition movie through a movie app like Vudu; to download the video with current Internet speeds, it would take approximately 30 minutes to an hour. With Fiber, it would download in less than 30 seconds. In one second you could download 40, 6-megapixel pictures. Is there a new song that you want to buy? It can be downloaded in 30 milliseconds, faster than it would take you to lift your finger off of the purchase button. Are you familiar with YouTube's hypnotic loading circle of circles? Kiss that baby goodbye! Your 5 minute video would be completely loaded in a fraction of a second. Just a small example of what Fiber is capable of with a few of our everyday uses.
The Fiber Plans
So, how is this possible? How does this work? This is where the fiber comes in. Fiber-optics that is. Made typically from extruded glass, fiber optics allows two ends to communicate light and information at...well...light speed. Our current coaxial systems consist of mostly copper wiring, which are strongly effected by electromagnetic interference that cause a loss in communication times. Fiber is immune to all electromagnetic interference and pulses. Plus, it would be unaffected by copper thieves looking to make a quick buck at scrap yards...for Meth.
Once the fiber optic lines have been installed in your city, you have three options provided by Google Fiber. Plan 1: Basic Internet. The Fiber system would be installed in your home for a one time fee of $300. Your internet speed would be about the same as what you are currently receiving from your cable provider, but your monthly bill would be $0. That’s right, free. Plan 2: Gigabit Internet. For $70 a month you would have the remarkably fast 1,000 Mbps internet, entering into the land of Oz. Also, choosing this plan, you would not have to pay the $300 installation fee. And Plan 3: Gigabit Internet + TV. Which includes the wonderful Gigabit internet and more than 150 channels of high definition television goodness. All for $120 a month, with the option of adding several movie packages such as HBO, Starz, Cinemax, and Showtime. And still not having to pay the $300 installation fee. Sign me up!
Getting Faster Internet Matters
Currently, Fiber is only in three U.S. cities; Austin, Provo, and Kansas City being the first. How can a city like Lake Charles, Louisiana benefit from the services of Fiber? Right now, we seem to be strong-armed by Suddenlink, which is used by the vast majority of the local population. Though they offer internet packages with speeds of up to 150Mbps, you’ll likely never see that. My cell phone can stream movie apps faster than Suddenlink’s provided bandwidth. Even with their rates rising, they have recently taken away many popular channels. Have you ever seen what it’s like when a kid can’t watch SpongeBob Squarepants anymore? Are you that rebel that switched to a satellite dish? How’s the weather outside?
Now, I’m sure many people are “comfortable” with their current provider, but Fiber would be beneficial to the masses not just for entertainment needs. Take for instance my mother who works remotely from home for an international medical inventory company. Everyday, she connects to a server consisting of over 8 million individual items that must be categorized, collected, and ordered for hospitals all around the world. She sends and receives many gigabytes of data on a daily basis, and I have first-handedly seen the struggles she has gone through with the unaccommodating services currently provided by Suddenlink. The time it can take to download a single clients file is atrocious, and hopefully the modem won’t crash.
With Fiber, she would be able to download and upload files instantaneously, without loss of time. She is just one example, but there are thousands of telecommuters in our area. Ed Fruge’, a local music creator and producer, would be able to send and receive projects in the blink of an eye. Industrial Plants communication and control systems would be fully synced with each other. Rush hour traffic could be abolished by non-lagging video conferences. The information that can be transferred with the help of Fiber, allows for infinite possibilities. This is a monumental leap for mankind, that will benefit the world...every beautiful inch of it.
To learn more about Google Fiber, and how to get it installed in Lake Charles, LA, click the button below. There, you will find a "check address" tab. Click on it, enter your zip code and email address. If there are enough inquiries: Google will contact our city officials to review their official checklist. So, long story short, your time and vote really do count.
About the author:
Hello universe, my name is Jordan Waldmeier. Scientifically, I am 28 years of age, as of 2014AD. I was born and raised in Sulphur, Louisiana and moved out of my mothers home at the young age of 27 and a half. Currently residing in Lake Charles, Louisiana (a whole bridge away): I am an observer of the human species, mentally taking notes on their actions around me, hopefully to be recorded to paper before they are lost by the inevitable dementia embedded in my DNA.
I am a collector of modified, petroleum formed, 6 inch scale likings of comic book superheroes and other science fiction icons. My favorite tree is one that has been processed into a 22 page full-colored comic book. Both of my parents are still alive, therefore, I am not Batman.
"Be excellent to each other."
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