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Bernstein: Google Fiber Adoption Numbers Look Good
Google has been fairly tight lipped when it comes to hard take up numbers for their Google Fiber services, but a report this week by Bernstein Researchindicates that around a third of the homes that can currently get Google Fiber are doing so. According to the survey, around ten to fifteen percent of those in Google Fiber's footprint take the "free" service, which delivers 5 Mbps speeds for no monthly charge after users pay a $300 installation fee. Everyone else goes for the speedier symmetrical 1 Gbps offering for $70, which waives the installation fee.

The report's sample size was puny at 200 homes, though Bernstein came away impressed with Google's numbers all the same, and argues that Google has a much better shot at being profitable and successful than overbuilders in this sector have been historically.

“These very high purchase intent numbers do not allow us to rule out the possibility that Google will indeed achieve very high penetration of homes passed, well in excess of the typical 20 percent to 30 percent that over-builders have achieved historically in their most successful markets," Bernstein analysts stated in the report.

Google Fiber competitors like Time Warner Cable have tried their damndest to brush Google Fiber aside as just another over builder. Historically, such companies (like RCN) have spent the last decade promising a lot of disruption, but delivering little.

"What they’re doing is not any different than an overbuilder," Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt said on a conference call with analysts and the media in April. "And we’ve had overbuilders for the last several decades in the business."

Not like Google Fiber, they haven't.

According to Bernstein's survey, 77 percent of those surveyed were considering a switch to Google Fiber and 60 percent were highly likely to do so. Google's resources and overall sexiness leads Bernstein to believe that Google will do much better than the 20-30% penetration rate traditionally seen by overbuilders. That still doesn't mean that Google Fiber will reach more than a handful of markets, but they clearly can still disrupt the market in very positive ways.