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Cable Technology Feature Article

April 18, 2013

Google Fiber TV Finally Brings HBO, Cinemax into the Fold

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

Missing Game of Thrones? Sad about the lack of late night Cinemax in your life? Google (News - Alert) Fiber TV subscribers have just gotten two more reasons to not regret dropping cable and satellite: HBO and Cinemax.

“Jon Snow. Hannah Horvath. Sookie Stackhouse. If any of these names ring a bell for you, then you’re going to be very happy to hear that we’ve just added HBO to our TV lineup.” That’s the word from Larry Yang, head of Product Management, who revealed via a blog that Google Fiber TV customers can now add on an HBO package to their plan for $20 per month (plus tax). That includes HBO, HBO2, HBO Signature, HBO Family, HBO Latino, HBO Comedy and HBO Zone.

Subscribers also have access to the Cinemax package for $10 per month (plus tax), which gets them eight channels, including Max, MoreMax, ActionMax, ThrillerMax, WMax, @Max, 5-StarMax and OuterMax. It’s all very Max-y.

And, “if you really love TV and want both of these add-ons, we’ve just launched our new premium package, which you may want to consider,” Yang added, coming in with the upsell. “With the premium package, you can get STARZ, Showtime, HBO and Cinemax, all for $40 per month (plus tax).”

Google Fiber, since launching in Kansas City last year, offers a one Gbps broadband connection into the home, plus an IPTV (News - Alert) package (the double-play goes for $70 per month). Content has been slowly rolling out for the latter, and the lack of a good stable of premium nets has been a gaping hole. Now, the addition of HBO in particular helps it get to somewhat of a service parity with its cable, satellite and IPTV rivals.

That will be critical as it prepares to launch its second service market in Austin, Tex., where homegrown incumbent AT&T (News - Alert) almost immediately announced that it would be taking Google directly on.

“Austin is known globally as a mecca for creative and entrepreneurial people, including musicians, artists, tech companies, and the University of Texas and its new medical research hospital to name a few,” Google said when revealing its plan. “High-speed ubiquitous connectivity can make an immediate impact on the work of all of these groups.”

The search giant added, “When we were originally choosing where to bring Fiber in 2010, Austin had one of the most enthusiastic responses. Austin city leaders have worked hard to make this possible, and we’re excited to be here.”

But AT&T has revealed that in conjunction with its Project VIP expansion of broadband access, it is prepared to build an advanced fiber optic infrastructure in Austin, also capable of delivering speeds up to one Gbps. AT&T's expanded fiber plans in Austin anticipate it will be granted the same terms and conditions as Google on issues such as geographic scope of offerings, rights of way, permitting, state licenses and any investment incentives, it said.

"Most encouraging is the recognition by government officials that policies which eliminate unnecessary regulation, lower costs and speed infrastructure deployment, can be a meaningful catalyst to additional investment in advanced networks which drives employment and economic growth," concluded Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO.  

Edited by Jamie Epstein

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