Google's Fiber Plan Taking Shape as Cable TV Power Play

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2012-02-23 Print this article Print

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Google's Fiber ambitions for high-speed Internet access are slowly but surely coming together in the form of paid TV programming, and it's something we should have seen coming.

Remember when we first learned of Fiber two years ago this month, when wacky political wonks jumped in shark tanks and ice-cold water to win Google's hand for the Fiber? It was going to be some experimental test.

As I noted last year, faster Internet connections open new opportunities for programmers to write gaming applications and other graphically intensive programs. Google's own YouTube video-sharing service would benefit greatly from speedier data facilitation.

Well, Kansas City, Kansas, won Google's hand last March, beating out almost 1,100 cities clamoring to be the guinea pig for Google's proposed broadband test, which will bring Internet access speeds of 1G bps to thousands of homes in the city.

So did Kansas City, Mo. And now we know from Google itself that it has started laying fiber there.

What we haven't really been able to put a finger on is exactly what services Google would pair with this ultra-speedy broadband.

Well, it seems Google was intentionally cagey and with good reason: It wants to challenge cable TV operators with a new paid TV service. That's according to the New York Post, which said the company filed for a video franchise license with the Missouri Public Service Commission to deliver to content to TVs in the state.

Wow, this coming after Ars Technica noted Google applied for a fixed satellite earth station in Council Bluffs, Iowa, some 200 miles northwest of the two Kansas cities.

That after we learned Google also applied to the FCC to test a residential gateway that has WiFi and Bluetooth.

And after we also learned the company has seeded over 200 home entertainment devices with its employees in four U.S. cities to test streaming music from Google's cloud over WiFi. Presumably, such a service would work with and complement Google TV.

Imagine the advertising Google could serve with all of that infrastucture, from pipes to hardware in the home, to consumers via YouTube.

Add it all up and Google is assaulting the home entertainment market that AT&T U-Verse, Charter, Cablevision, Dish, Verizon FiOS and scores of others are ruthlessly cutting each other's throats in.

AllThingsDigital's Peter Kafka has a lot more perspective on the competitive angles and potential for content services.

If you thought Google was being disruptive with Google Apps, Android and Chrome OS, just wait until this takes shape.

Grab some popcorn. I'm a little jealous of the Kansas Cities. Sure, I have Google TV and YouTube on my big-screen TV, but no high-speed broadband or paid TV channels. |

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