Google Fiber seeks volunteers to test 20-gig product

Google Fiber is in search of candidates to test its nascent 20-gig product in Austin, Huntsville, Raleigh-Durham and Salt Lake City. Businesses, non-profits and educational organizations that regularly download or upload “massive” datasets or have high-bandwidth needs are eligible, the company's Head of Multi-gig and Commercial Product Nick Saporito said. 

Last fall, Google Fiber achieved download speeds of 20.2 Gbps testing the product at Saporito’s home in Kansas City. But Saporito said that one household can’t really test the limits of what that much internet speed can do (despite the test group streaming “as many World Cup games in 4K as they had devices.”)  

“We didn’t even come close to using it all,” Saporito wrote in a blog.  

The company has since launched a test at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where their School of Science and Engineering has been using the 20-gig product -- which rides on 25G PON technology -- to handle big data sets and experiment with virtual reality.  

Google Fiber is looking for eight more organizations to do the same, “whether for big data uploads and downloads, research purposes, super-fast transactions, or something we've yet to imagine,” Saporito told FierceTelecom. 

“We're interested in seeing what people do with this much speed. We know that the future is multi-gig,” he added. 

The 20-gig achievement is part of Google Fiber's push to “dramatically expand” its multi-gigabit tiers with the ultimate goal of providing symmetrical speeds of 100 Gbps. The company recently launched its 5- and 8-gig products -- joining Lumen Technologies as one of the only big-name operators to offer a symmetrical 8 Gbps broadband tier -- and announced plans to expand coverage across the U.S. late last year. 

“We've seen a strong response to our new 5-gig and 8-gig products, and we want to be sure we can meet the needs of our customers as they grow,” Saporito said. 

Organizations interested in testing Google Fiber’s 20-gig product can apply here.