Google Fiber Community Selection Delayed Until 2011

Google Dec. 15 said it is delaying its decision on who gets to sample its 1G-bps broadband network until early 2011, citing too many applicants.

Citing a glut of applications, Google delayed until 2011 choosing which community or communities will test its ultra-high-speed broadband network.

Google Feb. 11 announced its plan to construct fiber networks to hurtle Internet data at speeds of 1 gigabit per second. That's more than 100 times faster than most residential broadband connections, paving the way for better application consumption, especially video and games.

The company wants to test these networks for 50,000 to 500,000 people across the U.S. Google requested volunteer bids from municipalities, triggering frenzied competition for the free service. Politicians jumped into freezing lakes and swam with sharks to catch Google's attention.

Google closed the bidding last March, after 1,100 communities and 194,000 individuals applied. The search engine had planned to announce its choice by the end of 2010.

With two weeks left in the year, Google has yet to pick a community or communities, said Milo Medin, Google's new vice president of access services overseeing the Google Fiber team, because the response has been so strong.

"While we're moving ahead full steam on this project, we're not quite ready to make that announcement," Medin wrote in a blog post. "We're sorry for this delay, but we want to make sure we get this right."

Google is not re-opening its selection process, which it now expects to complete in early 2011.

The update comes almost two months after Google inked a deal with Stanford University to build a broadband network fueling Internet speeds of up to 1 G bps for 850 homes owned by faculty and staff on the campus. The experiment is slated to start in early 2011.

It's unlikely, however, that Google will become a certified global carrier of broadband. But it could create a decent-size footprint of pipes through which it can market its own brand of Web services, starting with Google TV, which was launched in October on Logitech companion boxes and Sony Internet TVs and Blu-ray players.

Presumably, the advertising will follow.