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."

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 white space broadband. They, of course, see (correctly) that products like Google Voice pose a serious disruptive threat to traditional cash cows, and these carriers spend a lot of time smearing Google 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.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 1:11pm

    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.

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 1:34pm

    Spin Me Right Round

    Considering how popular Google's fiber offering is likely to be--and their disinterest in operating as an ISP, perhaps Google'll spin off an ISP company...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 2:02pm

    Re: Drooling Over 1 Gbps Fiber

    Your current internet would be a dream where I'm at. Currently pay $50 for 6Mbps down/.5Mbps up, or I can pay more $70 for cable and get 9Mbps down/.5Mbps up. Maybe if they roll out ATT U-Verse here I can maybe get 2Mbps up.

     

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    RobShaver, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 2:14pm

    I'm moving there!

    When Google announces where they're going to install fiber to the house, I'm going to buy a house and move there! It should boost property values right off the bat too.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 2:24pm

    The FCC's plan wasn't this bold.

    They wanted to increase speeds to 100Mbps ten years from now. Google wants to start at 1Gbps ASAP. Albeit, they are rolling it out to a limited number. It should really put other big ISPs to shame.

     

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    Jose_X, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 2:56pm

    Gigantic, ambitious, and fast-growing Google "must" extend the offer to as many as possible.

    Of course, I wish them lots of success with this. The slow-moving very greedy monopolists will be in for a rude awakening.

    Success should help sway more legislators against (patent) monopolies.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 3:00pm

    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.

     

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    Jeff, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 3:11pm

    Dear Google

    How about no hidden bandwidth caps and no throttling of huge downloads? I mean, downloading Left 4 Dead 2 on Steam is about 4-6gb alone and only 1.5mbps dsl is available in my area.

    HELP US GOOGLE!

     

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    GSA, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 3:37pm

    CRAP - THIS WAS MY IDEA

    ...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.

     

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    CharlieM (profile), Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 3:41pm

    Unfortunately, the way I see this going: "Goggle;s kick as fiber allows massive movie piracy and child porn d/l, and that is the only use for such bandwith. We must (enter whatever swill comes from their mouth) for the children."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 3:46pm

    let the city run the network like they do the roads

    You really had me going until that one...

     

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    Karl Bode (profile), Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 3:48pm

    Re:

    Yeah here in NYC that doesn't sound like a great deal... :)

     

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    Karl Bode (profile), Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 3:49pm

    Re: Re: Drooling Over 1 Gbps Fiber

    $70!?....is that unbundled without a TV option?

     

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    Alan Gerow (profile), Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 3:56pm

    Re: CRAP - THIS WAS MY IDEA

    "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.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 4:04pm

    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.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 4:22pm

    Re:

    Just like all corporations. Even the ones behind the RIAA. Very cunning. They went from selling full albums on shiny plastic discs to selling single digital tracks. Very cunning. We must watch these corporations closely.

     

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    Nate, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 4:22pm

    Re: Re: CRAP - THIS WAS MY IDEA

    "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.

     

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    Karl Bode (profile), Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 4:34pm

    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...

     

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  19.  
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    bishboria (profile), Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 5:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Drooling Over 1 Gbps Fiber

    It's crap like bundled deals to get cheaper cable that is the problem.

    I'm in the same boat, cheaper to get TV+phone+cable even though I don't use the TV at all.

     

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  20.  
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    Karl Bode (profile), Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 5:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Drooling Over 1 Gbps Fiber

    Yes, they like to portray it as if bundling services provides a "discount," though as somebody who prefers buying a standalone connection (I'm lucky enough to pay $55 for a 25/25 Mbps FiOS connection) I have always seen it more as punishment.

     

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  21.  
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    McBeese, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 5:18pm

    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.

     

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    Tcno, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 5:47pm

    Typical humans, perhaps its our greed or general decadence....The idea that more is always better. I wish I had some 30,000hp cars for sale. I'd make a killing.

    Reminds me of guys that purchase more bandwidth just to run speedtests all day and feel good about themselves. lol

     

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  23.  
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    Brett Glass, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 8:07pm

    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.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 8:37pm

    Re:

    You forgot to say "There must be more to this story!"

     

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    Jarannis (profile), Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 8:47pm

    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.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 9:37pm

    Pity the U.S. is lagging behind other countries in fiber deployment specially when the only secure method of encryption(quantum encryption) known is only possible on fiber LoL

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 9:47pm

    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.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 9:52pm

    Fiber is not just about speed. The only true safe encryption method known to man can only be deployed using fiber.

    Quantum encryption doesn't happen on DOCSIS 0.3 unless someone came up with a phisics breakthrough I'm not aware of.

    :)

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 11:43pm

    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.

     

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  30.  
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    Brad Allen, Apr 24th, 2010 @ 5:42am

    Re:

    Do you really believe that porn and copyright violaters are the only use for that type of bandwidth? Seriously. Someone needs to get some vision here...

     

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  31.  
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    Swins, Apr 24th, 2010 @ 6:33am

    YAY...not

    Yes 1GB broadband sounds great but with no ISP's and NO ONE serving data at 1GB, you are by default, capped at the speed of the host you are downloading from.

     

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  32.  
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    alternatives(), Apr 24th, 2010 @ 7:14am

    A co-op model

    An open network model was pitched for Milwaukee by Joe Klein - one where cable/telco could "get a connection" the same way any other node would.

     

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  33.  
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    Brett Glass, Apr 24th, 2010 @ 8:08am

    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.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2010 @ 9:22am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Sounds like Big Content.

     

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    Bengie, Apr 24th, 2010 @ 9:52am

    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.

     

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  36.  
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    IanW, Apr 24th, 2010 @ 11:20am

    "create a playground to test next-generation ad delivery.. "

    I hope my community is selected. I'd be happy to help test next-generation ad-blocking technology.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2010 @ 12:36pm

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

    Security banking can only be deployed on fiber right now unless someone created something better than quantum encryption.

     

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    Ralph, Apr 24th, 2010 @ 1:22pm

    Umm....Verizon has been installing fiber for years! Why is Google getting all this pub for something that Verizon is already doing? I wish Google would just shut up about their fiber optic network--it already exists and is called FiOS.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2010 @ 2:26pm

    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.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2010 @ 2:26pm

    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.

     

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  41.  
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    Dementia (profile), Apr 24th, 2010 @ 3:39pm

    Re:

    I would be happy with 1 Mbs service where I live. As it is now, if more than two people are in the house, everything slows to a crawl. Forget about streaming video, it just isn't possible here.

     

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  42.  
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    CB, Apr 24th, 2010 @ 5:25pm

    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.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2010 @ 7:42pm

    Re: Re:

    Where's the 1Gbit Google? Verizon is a million miles closer to doing than those blowhards at Google are.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2010 @ 5:08am

    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 :)

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2010 @ 9:24am

    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.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2010 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re: But what is your throttled bandwidth in reality?

    ADORABLE!

     

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  47.  
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    JJM, May 19th, 2010 @ 11:34am

    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 ...... :D

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 5:08am

    Please please let it be Westfiel nj
    I live in the senior housing building
    we have aol dial up and it stinks!!!
    we are too old to be waiting so long for each screen don't you think?
    Help!

     

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  49.  
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    NoName, Jun 15th, 2010 @ 11:31am

    Re:

    Ever heard of YouTube? iTunes? Maybe you're lacking a innovative gene. Ever wanted to play a video game without having the requirement of installing it onto your PC? Get off your piracy high-horse, because last time I checked all of those people are rich anyways.

     

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    NoName, Jun 15th, 2010 @ 11:43am

    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.

     

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  51.  
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    Cornelius, Aug 11th, 2010 @ 10:23am

    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.

     

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    Christopher (profile), Dec 14th, 2010 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re: CRAP - THIS WAS MY IDEA

    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

    -C

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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