Google Fiber's coveted high-speed Internet service is growing by the day. After rolling out Internet connections to various regions across the U.S., the company has decided to extend offerings to phone services.
The company announced Fiber Phone on Tuesday, a service tied to its Fiber Internet service. According to the search giant’s blog post, the upcoming Internet phone service appears to mimic much of the functionality of Google Voice. For $10 a month, Fiber subscribers can get all the basic landline features including unlimited local and nationwide call at Google Voice's rates. Voicemail on the new phone service can be automatically transcribed and sent to them via text or email.
Users can keep their old phone numbers or get new ones. They can also have access to one phone number that can be set up to connect all the other phones, whether landline or mobile. Other services include call waiting, caller ID, and 911. There are also privacy controls like spam filtering, call screening, and do-not-disturb.
When customers apply for the Fiber Phone service, they will be offered a VOIP box that will act as a link between the Internet phone service and the landline phone. In a sense, it is like the new meets the old. The small black box can be connected to any existing landline phone in the house.
One of the most unique features of Fiber Phone is that it is based on a cloud platform. Hence, the service works with any hardware it is connected with including landline phones, laptop computers, tablets and other similar devices.
It is not yet clear why customers would pay a monthly fee for the service, which is similar to the company's free Google Voice offering. Perhaps Google's decision to integrate landlines into the Fiber package was a necessary move. Though people depend on mobile phones to communicate, many would still prefer to use a landline or maybe want one for emergency purposes. The service is a more viable option in case of battery drainage and if users want to have them for the purpose of making distant calls across the globe.
The tech giant’s new phone service will be launched over time, as more Google Fiber cities go live. The Fiber Internet service is currently offered in just four cities, Austin, Kansas City, Provo and Atlanta. Expansion plans are being lined up for additional cities such as Salt Lake City, Nashville, Atlanta, Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, with other potential areas being looked at.
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