Google Fiber has ended its free basic service in its original city. New subscribers can no longer avail of this option.
Re/code reported that Google Fiber is dropping its free Internet option for new registrants in Kansas City. Previously, the company has allowed users to pay a one-time construction fee for free Internet access afterwards with no further payments.
The original plan has been replaced with two options. Fiber 100, the faster choice, will cost subscribers $50 per month without the need for a construction fee or a contract. The other one is a "broader implementation of its agenda to wire economically underserved neighborhoods for free."
The pricing changes have been confirmed by a representative of the company. No further information has been divulged.
The publication speculated that Google Fiber could has been pressured to become a competitive broadband and cable business. Fiber is deemed as the most expensive unit for Alphabet, its parent company.
The new pricing model could help Google Fiber to get new margins and subscribers. It was noted that dropping the free tier will enable the company to remove the expensive installation fee, which could be one of the reasons for lesser subscriptions.
The free option is still available in Austin and Provo, Utah. It had no monthly payments but required a $300 installation fee.
"The new plan doesn't require that; perhaps an attempt to go after more urbanites - think apartment complexes - that may balk at installation fees," the website wrote. "It's also faster: 100 megabit-per-second download and upload speeds, versus 5 megabit downloads and 1 megabit uploads for the free tier that's being retired. Incumbent rivals, like Comcast* and Time Warner Cable, have similar offerings."
Engadget added that current subscribers have until May 19 to confirm whether they want to keep their old plan. This also does not change Google's plan to give free service to low-income areas.