Residents of Provo, UT, will soon be getting access to Google Fiber Internet service, so to illustrate the difference between Gigabit fiberoptic service and typical broadband, the mayor’s office cooked up a funny — if not entirely accurate — video.
It’s a pretty simple premise. Man — complete with “Broadband” sash around his bared torso — is attempting to fill backyard pool with a typical garden hose. Along comes a fire engine and firemen, who then blast the pool to smithereens with their awesome, super-fast streams, obviously intended as an analogy to Google Fiber.
So are we to take away that fiber service is so fast it will blow your computer to kingdom come? We hope not, as that would get expensive and messy.
Obviously, the message is that Google Fiber is significantly faster than broadband. That’s true, but the ad goes a wee bit far in overstating the comparison.
If you use the FCC’s current definition of “broadband” as at least 4 Mbps downstream, and assume that Google is delivering something close to its fastest possible download speeds — or if you’re talking about consumers switching from dial-up or slow DSL to fiber — then maybe the comparison of three fire hoses to one trickling garden hose stands.
But according to a recent town-by-town survey of download speeds, the average Internet user in Provo is getting download speeds of around 21.5 Mbps, which is notably above the national average. Meanwhile, Kansas City, which was the first major deployment of Google Fiber, averages nearly 50 Mbps.
If Provo were to reach those speeds, that would be a huge improvement, but that’s still just about two and half trickling garden hoses, and certainly not three fire hoses on full blast. Even if Provo residents could achieve the 85 Mbps that top-ranked Ephrata, WA, residents see (thanks to their own dedicated fiber network), it’s still not even close to the comparison made in the video.
The video was obviously not meant to be taken literally, but some people will inevitably believe that switching from cable-based broadband to fiber will be a life-changing, pool-shattering event.
Regardless, most of you just came here to watch the guy in the bathrobe get hosed, so enjoy.