RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Google Fiber plans to quadruple its fiber internet service offerings to as high as 8 gigabits – and it’s looking for people to test the higher speeds. But not right now in the Triangle, unfortunately.

Currently its fastest offering is 2 gigabits. Xfinity offers the fastest service nationally at 6 gigabits, according to a CNET survey. Two gigabits is the fasts available speed in the Triangle from a variety of providers.

Google Fiber announced this week plans to begin offering 5 gigabit and 8 gigabit service early next year – with those speeds available for download as well as upload. Early testers of the service are being sought in Utah, Kansas City and Des Moines, Iowa.

The fiber provider also plans to include a Wi-Fi router plus as many as two “mesh extenders” for wireless access and installation.

The upgrades come as Google Fiber expands in service footprint in the Triangle and Charlotte. It’s also facing more competition with broadband providers expanding across the state, often boosted into areas lacking service by government grants.

“Google Fiber brought you 1 Gig in 2010, 2 Gig in 2020, and 5 and 8 Gig in 2022 (and we’re already testing 20,000 megabits in the field) … the future is fast, and it’s about to get faster,” says Amalia O’Sullivan, Director of Product Management at Google Fiber.

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A promise of “less lag”

Why so much speed? Think metaverse – and beyond.

“While 2 Gig answered the call for many gamers and power streamers,  5 Gig and 8 Gig are designed for even heavier internet users — creative professionals, people working in the cloud or with large data, households with large shared internet demands,” O’Sullivan explains in a blog post. “People who create and utilize large files need the ability to transfer them efficiently. For those who work on the cloud or in real time, like with financial transactions, it’s helpful to know there’s less lag between pushing send and making something happen. 5 Gig and 8 Gig can help these customers take on whatever they need online and be ready for whatever is coming next.”

Prices are $150 a month for 8 gigabits and $125 a month for 5 gigabits.

Current prices are $100 a month for 2 gigabit and $70 a month for one gigabit.

Google Fiber also says there are no contracts required, no data caps, and no installation fees.

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