Google: Hate Competition? Come Compete On Our Fiber Network

from the keep-your-enemies-closer dept

Back in February Google announced that the company would be deploying 1 Gbps fiber to the home connections for a lucky community or two. Google’s plan is to create a playground to test next-generation ad delivery and to explore fiber deployment options. The announcement has been nothing short of a PR miracle for Google — the resulting clamor created by the thousands of cities eager to be the target market has kept the Google brand consistently present in the media every single day since and all without a single byte being delivered. The network itself will operate under an open access model, with Google inviting ISPs to come in and compete, and this week Google’s Minnie Ingersoll extended an invitation to Comcast and AT&T to participate:

"We (sic) definitely inviting the Comcasts, the AT&T service providers to work with us on our network, and to provide their service offering on top of our pipe — we’re definitely planning on doing that. Our general attitude has been that there’s plenty of room for innovation right now in the broadband space, and it’s great what the cable companies are doing, upgrading to DOCSIS 3.0, but no one company has a monopoly on innovation. We’re looking for other service providers to be able to come in and offer their service on top of our network so that residents have a choice when they open up their accounts. They get the connection from us, and then they have a choice as to who they subscribe to."

<p>While that's sweet of Google, it's unclear that the nation's wealthiest carriers will want to come over and play today. These are companies who spend millions of dollars each year lobbying to eliminate competition of any kind -- and probably aren't keen to participate in a trial designed (in part) to highlight how competition keeps prices low, keeps service quality high -- and organically limits network neutrality violations. The nation's wealthiest carriers already disliked Google for the company's positions on everything from network neutrality to <a href="">white space broadband</a>. They, of course, see (correctly) that products like Google Voice pose a <a href="">serious disruptive threat</a> to traditional cash cows, and these carriers spend a lot of time <a href="">smearing Google</a> by using outsourced policy wonks. 

These same carriers will probably feel even less cooperative after being subjected to several months of national coverage with one central theme: they aren’t providing the broadband speeds or prices people want. Keep in mind too that part of this network’s purpose will be to collect a mountain of data — the kind of data these carriers don’t like to share (congestion, bandwidth delivery costs, etc.) all of which will be useful to Google in their political battles against these same operators. While Google has repeatedly stated they aren’t interested in being an ISP or in expanding this project beyond 50,000 to 500,000 users — this new network (whenever it actually gets built) might be a more suitable playground for smaller ISPs; smaller ISPs eager to show what open access and competition can really do for a community in an environment free of the influence of the usual assortment of monopoly/duopoly carriers.

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: at&t, comcast, google

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Google: Hate Competition? Come Compete On Our Fiber Network”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
BearGriz72 (profile) says:

Drooling Over 1 Gbps Fiber

I can say that personally if I had the option for 1 Gbps Fiber to my home I would bail off FiOS so fast it would make Comcast feel the Breeze as I jumped off Verizon.

Seriously Comcast (I think I was getting ~ 15 Mbps down / 2.5 Mbps up when I left) was ok, but when FiOS became available (Currently 25 Mbps down / 20 Mbps up & without the Node Sharing issues) I was all over it. I run a server in my home so upload speed makes a big difference to me. Google has not given an expected down/up ratio yet but given that fiber if capable of running at 1:1 without problems it could be 1 Gbps both ways, W00T! I can hardly imagine the 40-50 TIMES speed increase that would give me let alone for a lowly DSL Customer, it would be an increase of a whole order of magnitude!

I just hope the experiment succeeds in driving more competition in the broadband space, everyone would benefit. Oh and Google if you are listening The West Portland Metro Area, Oregon is waiting.

McBeese says:

Re: Drooling Over 1 Gbps Fiber

I doubt you would experience even a 2X increase in performance over your current FiOS connection for most activity because the broadband pipe at your end is only one factor in your overall experience. You have to also factor in bandwidth at the other end as well as server load. If you do P2P transfers with someone else on the Google network, then you might see a huge difference.

I also have FiOS today and for bandwidth-intensive tasks I find that my broadband link is rarely the bottleneck. For example, I don’t think you’ll notice ANY improvement with Hulu.

Anonymous Coward says:

The municipality in which I live is in the final phase of a fiber to the home rollout which includes television, voice and internet access. The local cable company, Cox Communications, had a fit when the city started the project and even filed a lawsuit to try to stop it. Cox then built a huge corporate office to increase its presence in the area. Cox Communications broadband prices are lower here than other areas due to the fiber rollout. The amazing part is the speed and price for the city’s fiber, the slowest package is $29.99/mo and gives you 10Mbit up and down….speeds of 100Mbit if your communicating with other subscribers. I can see why Cox freaked out.

Cornelius says:

Re: Dear Google

I know exactly what you mean. I’ve -fought- with Comcast for years trying to get service as I live exactly 1/4 of a mile from where their hanging cable currently rests on my street. Each time I’m told they aren’t extending their network at this time and ‘next year’ they’ll get back to me. Living on a WISP with 2down/.5 up along with massive lag spikes or being dropped outright does not make for a pleasent experience.

GSA says:


…except I would have the physical layer owned by the municipality, not Google. You know: use eminent domain to take control of the fiber and copper, let the city run the network like they do the roads and sell access to whatever provider wants to seek me as a customer. Otherwise, five different companies would have to figure out how to cost-effectively run redundant cables into my house to compete for my tv/voice/data subscription.

Alan Gerow (profile) says:


“let the city run the network like they do the roads”

So broadband access will be down most nights, littered with lost packets, and customer service that would put Google’s Nexus One roll out into Top Tier status.

I hate Comcast, but I trust them to run a network more than a bunch of bureaucrats who barely show enough understanding of the Internet to send an e-mail, let alone construct a competent network IT staff.

Nate says:


“So broadband access will be down most nights, littered with lost packets, and customer service that would put Google’s Nexus One roll out into Top Tier status.”

So, you’re telling me that where you live, commerce grinds to a halt daily because the government is somehow allowing thousands of vehicles to mysteriously disappear from the roads?

It’s funny, ’cause… here I thought the road and highway system was enabling the transport of billions of dollars of goods, service, and manpower daily.

Christopher (profile) says:


Sad argument. The city wouldn’t directly administer it, they contract out the maintenance. They float munis to cover the initial rollout, own the infrastructure, pay for maintenance via taxes. Content providers rent space in a colo, city gets this revenue to keep up infrastructure.

Key points: city-owned keeps costs down; competition in ISPs keeps costs down; process is transparent


Bengie says:

Re: Re:

“Goggle;s kick as fiber allows massive movie piracy and child porn d/l, and that is the only use for such bandwith”

because we can’t use BlueRay quality streaming? Remove all media compression that degrade quality and see how much bandwidth you need. Assume 3 devices streaming at the same time at the same house. Blueray is 54-72mbps per stream. 216mbps for higher quality movies of 3 streams.

Anonymous Coward says:

google is never sweet. think of them as the world largest collection of hidden agendas. they arent inviting competition to be nice they are probably inviting it to give them cover with the government when they do something pretty evil like undercutting existing suppliers and running them out of business. google isnt sweet just cunning.

Karl Bode (profile) says:

Re: Re:

google is never sweet. think of them as the world largest collection of hidden agendas. they arent inviting competition to be nice they are probably inviting it to give them cover with the government when they do something pretty evil like undercutting existing suppliers and running them out of business. google isnt sweet just cunning.

While their are cunning, on this broadband thing their motivation is fairly transparent — sell more ads. They sell more ads through more users accessing the Internet in more ways (White spaces, 1 Gbps fiber we deploy ourselves, hamster, whatever). At this point their motivations are fairly transparent to me.

The Google I worry about is the Google ten years from now, stocked less with younger idealists and more with established executive veterans heeding the call of myopic investors. I feel like that’s when the trouble starts…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

that has already happened. quite simply googles goal is to get in the middle of every net transaction possible in any way possible from giving away a mobile os to running fibre. they dont care they just to be involved in every transaction. they want a free pass to kick the incumbants and use their large profits from other operations to come in and significantly undercut local service costs because they have no intention of making a profit on it. disloyal competition at its finest.

Brett Glass says:

Getting on Google's network wouldn't be competition!

An ISP that got on Google’s network would not be able to differentiate its product, serve areas which that network didn’t serve, or provide better quality of service. In short, there would be NO competition there. The way to compete is to build your own and build it better. And NOT to pay rent to your competitor.

Jarannis (profile) says:

Re: Getting on Google's network wouldn't be competition!

See, the thing is… Here in Denver that’s exactly what the DSL market has become here. Qwest owns the telephone lines, so if you want DSL in the metro area, you have to have a Qwest line, regardless of who your actual service provider is. Most will bundle a Qwest line with your service, and it just shows up as a 5-15 dollar “fee”, but it’s more like your ISP is renting the lines from Qwest.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Getting on Google's network wouldn't be competition!

Are you serious?

Japan, Uk and France and other European countries would disagree.

In japan you get a list as long of service providers as my leg and I’m not a dwarf!

In France because all the physical infra-structure is shared FREE the ISP still manages to offer TV, VoIP, 100Mb/s for 29.99 euros?

Besides ISP’s can differentiate themselves using better routers then their competitors(bet you thought people wouldn’t know about that) on the Google racks.

I want to believe you are speaking out of ignorance, otherwise you are something else and I can’t quite come up with good things to say about that type of something.

Brett Glass says:

Re: Re: Getting on Google's network wouldn't be competition!

I’m an ISP. A competitive, facilities based ISP. I know exactly how the market works. Putting a slightly different router in the same rack as everyone else does not benefit me or my customers. Those customers might as well just buy from the owner of the rack, because they’ll get a better price (the owner of the rack is the only one who doesn’t have to pass on the cost of rent).

Having better infrastructure, especially in the last mile, is key to success. Why do you think FiOS is doing so well everywhere it’s deployed? Why do you think that WISPs like me continue to thrive, especially in areas (not all of them rural!) where the phone lines are too poor to carry broadband? I may choose to rent the middle mile (which is closer to being just generic transport), but I’m going to build my own last mile.

NoName says:

Re: YAY...not

Not exactly. You trade bandwidth with multiple servers. Think uTorrent. You may bottleneck with one server on one route while serving leechers and still have a lot of bandwidth to spare to other leechers over a totally different server. That’s like saying you did not benefit from a highway because it does not run exactly where you want it to.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I’d like to know where you get your 1Gbit fios.

Google’s network will be different because it will drive down prices substantially, and force the isps to begin actually competing.

Fios on the other hand is directly owned and operated by Verizon, meaning no competition and ridiculous $60/month prices.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I’d like to know where you get your 1Gbit fios.

Google’s network will be different because it will drive down prices substantially, and force the isps to begin actually competing.

Fios on the other hand is directly owned and operated by Verizon, meaning no competition and ridiculous $60/month prices.

CB (user link) says:

But what is your throttled bandwidth in reality?

Probably less then the FCC definition both upstream and downstream….which should be against the law.

If you are not running one of these three firmware packages on a supported hardware firewall/router, you do NOT know your true download/upload bandwidth! The three that will show you this in real time, 24 X 7 X 365 are: DD-WRT, OpenWRT and Tomato.

My Cable company promises 16,000 (16Mbpsr) / 2,000 (2Mbps) but my DD-WRT supported (and enabled router) shows reality, the truth: Sustained I only receive 384Kbps/101Kbps. That is all I EVER received sustained, period. Sure I see 1Mbps, 2Mbps, even 3Mbps 1 second spikes…but never upstream, only downstream.

I have even seen a “speed test” show as much as 25,000 Kbps downstream (but never more then 2,000Kbps upstream); however as soon as the Speed Test finishes, you see the actual (throttled/limited/restricted) bandwidth which is never above a sustained 384Kbps / 101Kbps. Never.

So if I was not running the DD-Wrt software I simply would NOT have a clue that I was being ripped off. As EVERY cable customer is. 100% of Cable providers throttle back their service. Period.

And I pay the highest monthly amount in my area, the cable company’s highest tier of service with which they “promise” streaming content will work.

Sorry but it does not.

The key to streaming content, I am guessing, is upstream bandwidth. I would hypothesis that if they provided the FCC definition upstream (768Kbps) that streaming content would not sputter when played. Of course the cable company has absolutely no intention of ever giving its customers more, only less.

Thus its no surprise that more then 500,000 subscribers have left Cable Companies every quarter through 2009.

Every American must realize how anti-american the current telcos and cable companies position on bandwidth and service is and has been since the early 1990s.

Its costing American’s jobs, opportunities and more.

Its Ironic that those same Anti American companies have received in excess of $200 Billion (direct money, additional fees and taxes) since the 1990s to provide American’s Fiber.

Where’s the Fiber?

If your elected officials are being paid to prevent your family from having Fiber To The Home (FTTH) access to the Internet, then its your fault! Fix it before your kids future and their kids future is ruined further.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: But what is your throttled bandwidth in reality?

you make the mistake many people make. you confuse connection speed with network speed. connection speed is the speed between your dsl modem or similar to the dslam, nothing else. the actual speed of the network is dependant on everything from the number of people on your network to the places you connect to. try the same tests at 6am on a sunday and see where you really sit. you might want to turn off the torrent software first.

Anonymous Coward says:

I saw a few comments claiming 1 Gbit will not make that much of a difference because the other side of the connection is the limiting factor. This is true but it could make a difference when you realize that you are primarily thinking about 1 to 1 connections when you are talking about the limitation. When my daughter is home on the weekend it is not unusual for her to be streaming videos from Hulu, Me to be streaming Netflix on my Xbox360 my son playing on his Xbox 360, my wife is surfing the web on her computer, My laptop is always logged into the VPN at work syncing email sporadically and My Droid is doing its thing and there is still another computer that is hitting the net…. It adds up after a while 🙂

JJM says:

Why they do it ?

For me it is quite straight forward …. Google is a company, which is going for absolute domination of the world’s computer market, and this is just another step … forget about Microsoft or Apple (well, about Apple not, they are GREAT!!) … and the future computer market will be in the network, and web based applications … that’s why Google developed Google docs, gmail and all the FREE end-user applications, now even operating system … for daily use, you will not need anymore paid software installed on your netbook (forget about PC in the future) …. everything will be on-line …. and online environment is where Google dominates … and where they make their profit … more online people, more adds … more money for Google … they scan [nearly] all internet traffic …. so why not to do it faster on their own infrastructure ? and once we all depend on Google’s infrastructure, we will be on their mercy … and our Earth will become a real “Google Earth” … no choice, just Google … this is the nicest way how to become worlds largest monopoly …… 😀

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...