Google Fiber Fastest ISP in US: Netflix

Dennis Faas's picture

Video streaming service Netflix has named Google Fiber the fastest Internet Service Provider (ISP) in America. Unfortunately, at the moment Google Fiber's service remains limited to the Kansas City area.

High installation costs make it likely that Google will take its time about expanding its super-fast service to other geographical areas.

Netflix has an interest and expertise in high-speed Internet service because it sells access to its huge catalog of movies and television shows only through Internet-connected computers, video game consoles, DVD or Blu-ray players, and streaming set-top boxes.

The service's $8 per month subscription price and its massive catalog have made it extremely popular. For example, as of December, 2012, Netflix boasts a subscriber base of roughly 30 million.

Netflix management says it streams to its subscribers an estimated 1 billion hours of video each month. (Source:

Google Fiber Capable of 2.55 Mbps

Internet video requires a fast Internet connection to really gain the full enjoyment of it. That's why Netflix cares, and knows, about where to find the best Internet connections.

Netflix says the fastest ISP right now -- and thus the best ISP for using the Netflix service -- is Google's new Fiber service, which it characterizes as "the most consistently fast ISP in America." (Source:

Netflix says Google Fiber is capable of transferring data at speeds up to 2.55 megabits per second (Mbps).

Netflix ranked Verizon, Comcast, and Charter as the next three fastest ISPs. Their data transfer speeds range from 2.19 Mbps to 2.17 Mbps. In fifth place, according to Netflix: Cablevision, clocked at 2.15 Mbps. (Note that Netflix's speed ratings are unique and based on a top rating of 4 Mbps.)

Google Runs Fiber Optic Cables Into Subscriber Homes

One reason for Google Fiber's incredible Internet speed: Google is running its fiber optic cables all the way into the homes of its subscribers. In this day and age, that's unusual.

Most Internet Service Providers use copper cable for some portion of the connection to each user. Since copper carries data less rapidly than fiber, this results in significantly slower Internet data transfer speeds.

For the time being, many ISPs are compromising by running fiber optic cables as close to subscribers' homes as possible before switching to other, less expensive materials.

A few ISPs, such as Verizon in the Los Angeles area, are also building fiber optic systems that reach into subscribers' homes. But for other technical reasons they have not matched Google Fiber's data transfer rates.

At the moment, Google Fiber's service is operating only in the Kansas City area, and in fact remains somewhat experimental.

It's unclear if Google will expand its super-fast transmission system to other cities. Analysts estimate that expanding the system to cover the entire nation could cost Google an astounding $140 billion.

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