Google Goes the Last Mile for High-Speed Deployment
The search giant says it plans to build a series of 1G-bps ultrahigh-speed broadband networks in selected areas around the country that will deliver speeds 100 faster than currently available. The fiber-to-the-home test networks will be operated as open networks committed to IT network neutrality.Google said Feb. 10 it plans to build and test 1G-bps ultrahigh-speed broadband networks in selected areas around the country. The fiber-to-the-home networks will reach between 50,000 and 500,000 people.
In addition, Google said, the networks will follow the network neutrality policies it has been urging the Federal Communications Commission to adopt as part of its National Broadband Plan, which the agency will deliver to Congress in March. Google said wholesale access will be available on the networks to encourage smaller ISPs to compete with the telephone and cable industries that currently dominate the broadband delivery business.
"We're excited to see how consumers, small businesses, anchor institutions and local governments will take advantage of ultrahigh-speed access to the 'Net," Richard Whitt, Google's Washington telecom and media counsel, wrote in a blog post. "In the same way that the transition from dial-up to broadband made possible the emergence of online VOIP [voice over IP] and video and countless other applications, we think that ultrahigh-speed bandwidth will lead to many new innovations, including streaming high-definition video content, remote data storage, distance learning, real-time multimedia collaboration and others that we simply can't imagine yet."
Whitt wrote that Google is asking interested local governments to complete a request for information, which will help it determine where to build. Private enterprise is also invited to submit ideas.
"While it's unlikely that our experiment will be the silver bullet that delivers ultrahigh-speed Internet access to the rest of America, our engineers hope to learn some important things from this project," Whitt wrote. "We can't wait to see what developers and consumers alike can accomplish with access to 1G-bit broadband speeds."
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski issued a statement praising the Google decision: "Big broadband creates big opportunities. This significant trial will provide an American testbed for the next generation of innovative, high-speed Internet apps, devices and services."
The Google initiative also drew widespread praise from a number of public policy advocates. Markham Erickson, executive director of the Open Internet Coalition, stated: "An ultrafast and open broadband will not only provide a new and exciting platform for the next generation of Internet services and apps, but will hopefully inject new life into the extinct third-party ISP marketplace."
Erickson added, "We hope this will serve as an example to other network operators that the open model should not be feared, but should be emulated. Profit and openness are mistakenly seen to be in conflict; in fact we believe they are synergistic and amplifying."