Fiber Optic cable warningIf you’re in Nashville, you’ve probably noticed a lot of orange paint on the sidewalks and even a few random buttons claiming that Google Fiber’s there, or about to be.

Google Fiber announced a while back that it was coming to Nashville, and for reasons at the time unknown AT&T jumped their announcement date by about a week to announce their plans to start telling customers in Nashville that they couldn’t get Fiber.

Comcast decided to get in on the action and, like Comcast is prone to do, make it bigger and presumably better with two gigabit service (that’s twice the gigas!).

In the end, you’re left with a variety of options, all seemingly the same with a reasonable price. Of course they’re not the same and if you choose unwisely you’ll regret it pretty quickly.

Google Fiber

We’ll lead with it because Google’s doing it right. $70 a month, unlimited data transfer.

Google Fiber

The downside may be that Big Google has more information on you than you’d like. Also they’re taking their time to roll it out properly. With Google Fiber if you want to cut the cable cord you can probably do that with no issue and watch HDTV 24×7 with a streaming service.

If you don’t want to go with a streaming service, for about $60 a month extra you can get their full blown TV service and a DVR.TV box.

You can see an example of pricing here.

You can also get basic 5Mbps internet for a $300 one time install fee for life, or at least seven years.

If you pay for the gig service, you also get a terabyte of storage for Gmail, Drive, and Photos.

They’re also reportedly currently of passing along legal threats and offers to settle anonymously with media companies for between $20 and $300. Most other ISPs either ignore threats, send you an automated warning, or simply hand over your information when requested via a subpoena as media trolls will fire warnings for things that aren’t even theirs quite often.

While copyright holders aren’t given user data without a warrant, it’s a bit more personal than the DMCA C&D letter people get when they torrent a tracked file.

AT&T Gigapower

AT&T has a lead on Google Fiber in most markets. They’ve been selling fiber to big businesses for years at rates about 50 times what the residential rates are. They’ll match Google’s pricing in any market that Google is in, but where AT&T is alone, you’re going to pay a little extra.

Where there’s no competition, AT&T charges $120 for their gigabit connection. They had a usage cap of 1TB a month a year ago (and still do in the Gigapower pricing details).

According to the Gigapower details website, Gigapower comes with a Single Play ($120 gig internet service,) Double Play ($150 Internet plus tv), and Triple Play ($180 internet, TV, and voice,) options. Details vary

Assuming a full gigabit connection, you could meet your bandwidth cap of a terabyte in about two hours 13 minutes give or take. After you use your terabyte up in that two and a half hours you’re charged at $10 per 50 gigabytes.

In other words, assuming you got infected with something that used up all your bandwidth constantly, every 6 minutes and 40 seconds you would be charged an additional $10. So assuming 7 minutes per 50 gig, 24 hours in the day, 30 days in the month you could have a $60,000 overage.

I’m assuming there are safeguards against this, but if you’re expecting to download or upload full tilt non-stop, you’re looking at quite a bit more than $120 a month. Google Fiber and Comcast’s unlimited offerings come out at about $59,880 less a month, which can really add up over a year or two.

Comcast Gigabit Pro

So if a gigabit is good, two must be better right? Possibly.

Comcast is offering two gigabit data to your house. You’ll need networking equipment capable of handling this speed as most consumer grade switches and routers top out at one gigabit. While Comcast will supply a connection capable of it, you’ll need to back that with a network capable of pulling that sort of speed.

You can, of course, have slower things connected to it, or multiple gigabit connections, but at the moment it gets a bit insane.

Comcast Gigabit Pro also reportedly came with a 250gb data cap like the residential service, although Jason Livingood, VP of Comcast Internet Services, tweeted there are no data caps.

There’s no word on pricing, but you can assume they’ll attempt to be competitive.

The drawback with going with Comcast is, well, you’re with Comcast, the 8th most hated company in the US according to Bloomberg Business.

So how fast is this?

Here’s an issue they’re not going to wave in your face: You probably don’t require this level of speed. Even a really decent 4K TV stream is only 10-20mbit, meaning with a full gig you could watch different 4K movies on 49 different devices and still have enough bandwidth to play some games and verbally flame some noobs.

But that gigabit, or two gigabits, is limited by several factors. These include whether the source is capable of delivering the content at the speed you’re asking it for, whether their ISP works properly in delivering stuff from point A to B, whether there’s an outage somewhere out of your town causing data to be routed through a slower gate (which is currently happening with my Comcast Business connection), whether the neighborhood node you’re on can handle the traffic, and whether your local network can handle it.

A gigabit connection speed means you could download every indexed web page (4.62 billion of them,) at an average of 1.5 megs a page (6,930,000,000 megs) in about two years, or in easier to understand terms you probably have a chance of downloading something interesting about every 37 days and something illegal every .002 seconds.

Or my math could be off. It’s faster than needed for anyone not running a streaming website out of their house for a long time.

So who should I go with?

At the current rate of deployment you’ll have one of the major carriers offering you Gigabit service within a couple of years. That will probably be your only choice for quite a while longer. Also company policies and networks change, hopefully for the better.

I’d advise jumping on the first available and choose the best when it’s in your hood, if you’re not already on the best. Fiber lighting up tends to attract other providers, so your purchase from Evil Company A might attract Good Company B. Or not. Who knows.