Search engine giant Google's ultra-high speed Internet push, Google Fiber, is on the fast track. The company is moving to satisfy consumers’ need for speed in 34 more cities.
Google’s gigabit Internet service, which has moved from concept to reality in the last few years as dozens of communities are working to build out their networks, offers speeds reportedly 100 times faster than what most of us use today. Yes, 100 times faster.
“People are hungrier than ever for faster Internet, and as a result, cities across America are making speed a priority,” said Milo Medin, vice president of Google Access Services. “Hundreds of mayors from across the U.S. have stated that abundant high-speed Internet access is essential for sparking innovation, driving economic growth and improving education.”
Planning for Mass Rollout
Google reported that Portland, Nashville and dozens of others have made high-speed broadband a pillar of their economic development plans. Medin also pointed out that Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, declared in June that every school should have access to gigabit speeds by 2020. Google likes what it hears.
“We've long believed that the Internet’s next chapter will be built on gigabit speeds, so it’s fantastic to see this momentum,” Medin said. “And now that we’ve learned a lot from our Google Fiber projects in Kansas City, Austin and Provo, we want to help build more ultra-fast networks. So we’ve invited cities in nine metro areas around the U.S. -- 34 cities altogether -- to work with us to explore what it would take to bring them Google Fiber.”
Medin said Google aims to provide updates by the end of 2014 about which cities will be getting Google Fiber. Between now and then, he said, the company will work closely with each city’s leaders on a joint planning process that will not only map out a Google Fiber network in detail and also assess what unique local challenges we might face.
“These are such big jobs that advance planning goes a long way toward helping us stick to schedules and minimize disruption for residents,” Medin said, explaining that Google is going to work on a detailed study of local factors that could affect construction, like topography, housing density and the condition of local infrastructure.
Will Carriers Revolt?
We caught up with Rob Enderle, principal analyst at The Enderle Group, to get his take on the Google Fiber expansion. He told us Google can afford to make the push and cities will enjoy the substantial increase in bandwidth -- but carriers may revolt.
“This is going to force the carriers and broadband providers to more aggressively compete on price than they do now. It’s probably going to reduce or eliminate the throttling practices over time because Google won’t throttle,” Enderle said.
“At this point, with Google expanding at such a rapid rate, the major carriers and telephone providers are going to have to decide if they want to stay in the market because if Google keeps expanding, this would represent a going-out-of-business scenario for a lot of them. They may try to use regulation and lobbying to shut Google’s efforts down.”