Google Fiber Teases 34 More Cities With Actual, Honest-To-Goodness Broadband Competition

from the this-could-get-interesting dept

One of the interesting things about Google Fiber is that it isn’t just people getting shiny new 1 Gbps connections for $70: it’s a network data collection exercise, a marketing experiment, a testbed for new services and ads — but first and foremost it’s a massive public relations fire under the posteriors of the nation’s all-too-comfortable, government-pampered, uncompetitive broadband ISPs. Google Fiber isn’t really even available to all that many people (a few thousand, probably), yet its impact on the national discourse has been massive. Also impressive has been the sheer volume of free marketing Google gets for the service as cities — dissatisfied with existing broadband ISPs — climb on top of and over one another to be first in line to be next in line.

Google’s first call for a potential city (before they picked Kansas City) resulted in an unprecedented nationwide media frenzy. Four years later with just two (Kansas City and Provo, barely) markets launched and a third planned (Austin), its pretty clear that Google Fiber won’t be coming to most of us anytime soon. Still, Google recently cleverly teased some 34 cities in 9 metro areas with the faint possibility they could be next in line. From a Google blog post:

“We aim to provide updates by the end of the year about which cities will be getting Google Fiber. Between now and then, we’ll work closely with each city’s leaders on a joint planning process that will not only map out a Google Fiber network in detail, but also assess what unique local challenges we might face….While we do want to bring Fiber to every one of these cities, it might not work out for everyone. But cities who go through this process with us will be more prepared for us or any provider who wants to build a fiber network. In fact, we want to give everyone a boost in their thinking about how to bring fiber to their communities; we plan to share what we learn in these 34 cities…”

In short, Google’s again creating free media coverage for themselves while drawing attention to the ignored competitive problems in the country’s broadband market. Cities that won’t get Google Fiber (and I’d bet only one or two of the 34 actually will) will at least benefit from the experiences Google and other cities have learned as they attempt to navigate installation pitfalls and disrupt the status quo.

Google Fiber’s selection of these 34 cities also indicates they want to start a broader conversation about the bills ISPs have gotten passed in a number of states that hamstring town and city efforts to wire themselves with broadband — even if nobody else will. The Carolinas in particular have been a real hotbed of protectionist legislation crafted by the likes of Time Warner Cable, AT&T and CenturyLink, and by focusing on the Raleigh-Durham area and Charlotte, Google pretty clearly wants to bring the focus on these awful bills into the foreground.

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Comments on “Google Fiber Teases 34 More Cities With Actual, Honest-To-Goodness Broadband Competition”

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27 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Good. It’d be nice to have some competent crooks running telecommunications for a change, instead of the current batch of lazy idiots. Just look at how they’ve run their racket into the ground!
If the telco monopolies were being run with even the slightest shred of competence, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. Google Fiber would be a feeble attempt at branching out; a sideshow at best. Instead, it’s practically being hailed as the eighth wonder of the world, and the telcos are struggling to catch up and save face. Pitiful.
Here’s hoping the new blood knows (and more importantly, remembers) not to let things deteriorate to this point.

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s not just the anti-competitive legislation but also all the cities that signed agreements with cable companies allowing them an exclusive monopoly to operate.

While it may have been a good deal at the time to get cable laid in those cities, it has since become a garrote preventing them from inviting in other competition that would bring cheaper as well as better services.

Just as the entertainment companies have to be dragged kicking and screaming all the way into more modern technologies, so to do the communications industries have to be dragged out of their monopolies into actual competition.

At present, the US pays the highest rates for the poorest speeds in broadband. Something has to change. The US is steadily loosing it’s standing in education and business opportunities as corporations and businesses go elsewhere in the world for better choices and economics for broadband communications.

cacarr (profile) says:

“Google Fiber isn’t really even available to all that many people (a few thousand, probably) …”

Maybe a year ago. Must be more than that now.

“Cities that won’t get Google Fiber (and I’d bet only one or two of the 34 actually will)…”

One _metro area_, possibly (and with the pressure this announcement put on public officials in these metro areas, I’m almost certain it will be more than that), or one *city*?

Ninja (profile) says:

The telcos are shitting their pants for 4 years now afraid that Google will expand its services nationwide or that people will start incisively questioning their monopolies. After all they were supposed to be awarded such monopolies so they could take revenue for granted and invest more in infra-structure, quality, cheap services etc. Which clearly didn’t happen. I’m waiting for the US Govt to offer the same monetary incentives they gave to the main telcos to Google. It should be both fair and entertaining to see the telcos flip flop about how unfair it is.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’m waiting for the US Govt to offer the same monetary incentives they gave to the main telcos to Google. It should be both fair and entertaining to see the telcos flip flop about how unfair it is.

You’re going to be waiting a long time then, you can bet the telcos have already been pressuring their unofficial ’employees’ in the house and senate against Google getting the same incentives, likely with the excuse that it would be ‘unfair’, ‘a large expense that would be better spent elsewhere’, and ‘disruptive to the market'(and by extension them and the kickbacks/perks they’re paying out).

blank name for now says:

Competition?

Come on, it’s not competition. It’s Google coming in and spending insane amounts of money, with little or no apparent consideration for the real direct costs of providing service.

The $300 one time for 5M installation tells you the real truth: They are buying market share, they are buying the pipe that connects you to the internet, and they aren’t concerned with making income from the project as an ISP. They are only considering what they can make with more Google searches and more google ads. It’s a form of dumping, and likely to get them some nice federal intervention soon enough.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Competition?

Well yeah – they’re interested in more “screen time” in general. However they are mostly indifferent who supplies the tubes as long as they’re free of barriers.

As part of the process for getting fiber the cities must respond to a “checklist” of items including:

We?re asking cities to ensure that we, and other providers, can access and lease existing infrastructure. It would be wasteful and disruptive to put up duplicate utility poles or to dig up streets unnecessarily, when we could use existing poles or conduit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Competition?

The $300 one time for 5M installation tells you the real truth: They are buying market share, they are buying the pipe that connects you to the internet, and they aren’t concerned with making income from the project as an ISP.

So because they have a different revenue model, that’s somehow automatically bad?

They are only considering what they can make with more Google searches and more google ads

So tell me – the cableco charges you $100/mo. Do you honestly think it costs them anywhere near that much? Do you think that Google is making that much from banner ads?

This has less to do with “the real costs of being an ISP”, and more with “the real cost to the consumer of having a single broadband produce.”

Andrew Glynn says:

Wouldn't need competition if ...

This is infrastructure. Infrastructure and competitive markets never work properly because it’s too expensive to create sufficient parallel services in order to create true competition. Two things do work, a regulated monopoly or a publicly owned service. Chattanooga has gigabit fiber for $35/mo. as a publicly owned service, while other cities are begging Google to put it in and charge double. Yea, $70 for gigabit fiber blows away $60 for AT&T slowverse. But you’re only comparing bad with worse.

LrdVapid (profile) says:

Re: Wouldn't need competition if ...

According to the EPB webpage, the company supplying gigabit fiber to Chattanooga, it is 69.99 a month for gigabit service. That is a gigabit up and down. It isn’t that much more than I pay where I currently live for speeds much slower. If I could afford the increase in all my other bills I would probably move where I could get it.

Atlanta metro says:

FYI: confirmation of Google Fiber

A representative of our recently formed city released this yesterday:

“While Google has asked for confidentiality regarding the details of their Google Fiber launch in Brookhaven & Metro Atlanta, I can confirm that all of the cities listed on their webpage (https://fiber.google.com/newcities/), including Brookhaven, below HAVE BEEN SELECTED to receive Google Fiber.

“Our city staff is already working to put together the information requested by Google, so that they may determine how and when to deploy Google Fiber in the Metro Atlanta region. Google representatives were impressed with the online petition and asked that those people interested in their service instead please sign up on their “Get updates” page (https://fiber.google.com/newcities/), to keep informed of Google Fiber’s progress.

“The City of Brookhaven is very excited to be one of the Metro Atlanta cities selected to receive Google Fiber. I assure you our staff will continue to work closely with Google throughout this process. I believe this is a benefit to our areas economic development, and drives innovation through increased competition in this market for internet and television service.”

— D. Bates Mattison, City Council- District 3

Anonymous Coward says:

Not to be the dick in the room, but if its not coming to my city, nor any place close, i don’t care other than Google just fucked us.

So for most ppl who cares, it wont help (the reality – if the telco’s and cable companies are only challenged in certain areas, yea they wheel and deal there, but for everywhere they are not challenged they will just jack up the price and lower the service bar to make up for where they had to step up).

So the final line is thanks Google for fucking everyone else but the chosen few…

akp (profile) says:

Re: Re:

What did that even mean?

How did Google fuck anyone? It’s not like they can instantly fiber-up the entire nation. And it’s not like GF going in to some other city makes your service any worse.

Just be patient, and watch all the providers in Google Fiber cities shit their pants. Enjoy the show, and someday soon it will come to everyone.

Stephen Hutcheson says:

Re: Thanks, Google?

By that reasoning, nobody would ever do anything good. Mother Teresa feeds a million people in India? So you’d curse her for all the starving children in Brazil! Bill Gates ends Smallpox, and you’d just curse him all the more for all the suffering malaria patients! And you’d blame Don Knuth for all the world’s software bugs.

For you, a journey of a thousand miles starts with 999.999 miles of curses but no actual steps.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Thanks, Google?

He’s angry at Google not because they’re not wiring his city, but because he claims that ISPs elsewhere will increase his prices (and everyone else’s) to compensate for the reductions in price and/or improvement in service that they have to make because of the competition from Google.

He’s still taking the position that nobody should try to make the situation better unless they can improve everything all at once for the entire country. That sounds nigh impossible to me, so I would take this piecemeal approach over nothing, even if it doesn’t benefit me immediately.

vastrightwing (profile) says:

Verizon! LOL

Hey, I hope that $52.99/month 20 mbps service you’re forcing us to use is working out well for you. Keep it as long as you can. Don’t bow to competition: don’t let anyone force you to lower your fees. Because that isn’t fair. Don’t worry, I won’t leave you when Google comes to town, because I already won’t be a customer anyway. LOL. It’s already too late. LOL I’ve made plans with RCN for at least the next 2 years. Then I may buy a cheap cell phone for its WiFi AP capability and use its 4G 7 mbps connection for a lot less than what you offer. If I could embed a graphic with my middle finger on it, I would. But then that might hurt your feelings. LOL.

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