Google Fiber appears to be flirting with a triple-play offering as it gears up to test a residential voice service called Google Fiber Phone.
Google Fiber has sent invitations for the trial to some of its subscribers, according to The Washington Post, which has also posted an image of the invitation, which Google had hoped to keep confidential.
According to that invitation, Google is offering access to the Google Fiber Phone trial via its Fiber Trusted Tester program, which gives customers “early access to confidential products and features.”
Sharing apparent similarities with the Google Voice product, Google Fiber Phone provides a “phone number that lives in the cloud. With Fiber Phone, you can use the right phone for your needs, whether it’s your mobile device on the go or your landline at home.”
The service being trialed also supports features such as voice mail transcribing, call screening, do-not-disturb settings, and the option for testers to receive a new number or transfer one from an existing landline or cell number.
Google Fiber currently sells a 1 Gbps standalone service for $70, the option to bundle in a pay TV service, as well as a free "basic" Internet service that is limited to 5 Mbps down by 1 Mbps up for customers who agree to pay a one-time construction fee. Adding a residential voice product would complete a triple-play bundle for Google Fiber. Separately, Google has launched Project Fi, a mobile voice service that starts at $20 per month that runs on WiFi hot spots as well as Sprint’s and T-Mobile 4G LTE cellular networks.
Google declined to comment about the Google Fiber Phone trial. It’s not clear if Google Fiber is testing the voice service in Kansas City, its first market, or if it has extended it to customers in Provo, Utah; and Austin, Texas. Google Fiber also has buildouts underway in Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Nashville, Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte. It’s also exploring deployments in several markets, including Chicago; Los Angeles; Portland, Ore.; San Jose, Irvine and San Diego, Calif.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Oklahoma City; Louisville, Ky.; and Jacksonville and Tampa, Fla.
In October 2015, Bernstein Research estimatedthat Google Fiber’s network passed about 427,000 homes and 96,000 business locations, primarily in Kansas City and Provo, Utah, and that it had signed up as many as 120,000 paid subs.
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