Google’s Project Fi has announced that it’s partnering with European Cellular Carrier, Three, to bring the service to an additional 15 countries in Europe. This brings the total countries that Fi operates in, to more than 135. Google’s Project Fi operates through a special SIM card that allows users to intelligently switch between carriers and even Wifi for just $10/GB. It all depends on the best signal strength available. It’s a prepaid service that was previously active in 120 countries and operated over 3 carriers; US Cellular, T-Mobile and Sprint.
Project Fi is part of Google’s ever expanding bag of tricks that aims to provide fast and affordable Internet to the whole world and raise the global average. Previously Fi used to allow international roaming to its customers but capped the speeds to a relative low of about 256 kilobytes per second. Now that wasn’t bad but this varied around the world depending upon the connection so the speeds could deteriorate to 3G-ish connections too. But now, Google has removed the cap so you can access 10 to 20 times the normal speed you got before. Google also mentioned that Project Fi is now active in 97% of all countries that U.S Citizens visit most often.
Google also offered a Nexus 6P for $150 as a promotion for Fi with the special Fi SIM. However, there is a Nexus device refresh around the corner so it would be a good idea to wait a while. And that’s another thing about Project Fi, it only works on the last line of Nexus devices and only works between the four networks outlined above. You don’t have a choice in the matter but Google gives you a pretty good package all things considered. Plus, all the data that you don’t use during the month gets returned to you in the form of cash.
One great thing about Fi is that it allows you to make calls and send texts over Wifi. Oh that it were possible on just any SIM or any phone all of the time.
The most important thing to know about Project Fi is that Google doesn’t aim to turn it in to a profitable business, on the contrary, it’s doing this to coerce other carriers in to either increasing the speeds of their internet packages or lower their prices. The fact that only 20% of Americans choose to use their data connections when abroad should tell you that this area does need improvement. Google is improving things with Google Fiber and Google Loon, AND the FASTER trans-pacific undersea cable connecting the US and Japan, delivering a speed of 60 terabits per second.
Google’s Impact As A Leader In The Internet Speed Revolution
All this talk of raising the bar from Google isn’t falling on deaf ears. Microsoft and Facebook are now building their very own undersea cable across the Atlantic Ocean called MAREA, predicted to be operable by 2017, that will deliver a speed of 160 terabits per second and will connect the US with Europe. Facebook is also working on an independent project called Aquila, a 139 feet wide solar powered drone that will fly around the world to specific dead zones and provide Internet.