Survey: Google Fiber must deliver on hefty promises

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is apparently succeeding in both of its goals in Kansas City, where its Google Fiber broadband service is attracting both attention and subscribers, according to the "Google Fiber Matters: Consumer Demand Study" produced by Ideas & Solutions.

According to results of the study, 30 percent of possible Kansas City metro area subscribers have paid the requisite $10 pre-registration fee to get the service, and another 30 percent of the "qualified population" has "expressed interest." The researchers interviewed 1,303 respondents in October and November 2012, just prior to the first customer installations of Google Fiber.

Google's history as an Internet innovator has a lot to do with the results, but so does the effort the company put into building out the business, Ideas & Solutions President Glen Friedman said.

"Google Fiber has conducted a remarkable marketing campaign," Friedman said in a news release. "Historically, pay TV 'overbuilders' penetrate about one-third of their marketplace over time. This level of interest in the beginning is unprecedented. For Google Fiber, the challenge moving forward is to do an equally good job on the fulfillment."

The survey measured 11 brand attributes, including privacy concerns comparing Google to incumbent pay TV operators--the lead one being Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC)--in Google's "fiberhoods." About 60 percent of respondents said they would trust Google with private materials, while only about 40 percent trusted their multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs).

"When asked about new largely IP-based TV applications on devices, about 88 percent of respondents selected Google Fiber as the better provider, compared to 12 percent who favored the incumbent. And in terms of cloud-based services, 90 percent of respondents picked Google, compared to 10 percent for the existing pay TV providers," the news release said.

Of course, there's a downside to all this upside. The service provider has to make good on the expectations.

"It's not easy to deliver and maintain a high standard of customer service and customer experience. Although Google Fiber ranks higher than the incumbents in 11 areas of branding, the company is unproven in its ability to deliver and fulfill a complete Internet and video offering," Friedman said.

This means Google is seen as a little weak when it comes to video--not in delivering it, but in getting the content in the first place. That's why 40 percent of respondents who paid the pre-registration fees plan to get Google's broadband but continue to get pay TV from another company.

For more:
- Ideas & Solutions issued this press release

Related articles:
Consolidated Communications says it's not afraid of Google Fiber
Google's Schmidt: Kansas City is just one stop on FTTH journey
TWC COO Marcus questions whether there's a need for 1 Gbps service

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