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Google Networking The Internet

Google's Experimental Fiber Network 363

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the contact-me-please dept.
gmuslera writes "Not enough speed from your ISP? Google seems to go into that market too. 'We're planning to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States. We'll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We plan to offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.' The goal isnt just to give ultra fast speed for some lucky ones, but to test under that conditions things like new generations of apps, and deployment techniques that take advantage of it." If they need a test neighborhood, I'm sure mine would be willing.
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Google's Experimental Fiber Network

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  • more competition (Score:5, Interesting)

    by saturnblackhole (1737076) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @12:22PM (#31087672)
    this is great i hope its a huge success, comcast and time warner needs some competition to lower prices and get rid of stupid data caps. just wish i was available to more people.
  • Google (Score:5, Interesting)

    by russlar (1122455) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @12:25PM (#31087694)
    Seriously, is there any market Google is not going into?
    • Re:Google (Score:5, Insightful)

      by _PimpDaddy7_ (415866) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @12:32PM (#31087828)

      I don't care.

      If this means more competition to the likes of Comcast and Verizon with internet in the home, so be it.

      I am so sick of the cable companies stranglehold. It's obvious the FCC won't do anything about competition.

      I'd gladly welcome Google.

      Competition is GOOD.

      • Re:Google (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mc1138 (718275) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @01:18PM (#31088482) Homepage
        I hope they'll take this a step further and offer up this sort of connection to corporate customers. I work from a company with a 20 Mbit connection and probably pay a lot more than what this connection is going to be offered for. Granted I'd still be fine paying more than a home user to guarantee uptime etc, but really, hopefully this will be a shot in the arm to other providers to wake up and not nickel and dime people for services that can't meet demand. It seems like Google is doing what they can to keep the US from falling behind the rest of the world.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Adriax (746043)

          We're paying something like $750/month each for 3 T1 point to points between our main office and our 3 field offices. Might be per end, might be both ends, all I know is we pay through the nose for this crappy service.
          Not to mention all the lost productivity waiting for large files, or even windows updates, to traverse the network.

          If google wants a rural test bed, I guarantee they would be well received by state officials in wyoming.

      • by neoform (551705)
        Problem: All the competition is incompetent. Google is not. Google will move in to this area, destroy everyone else, and then there will be no more "competition" (not that there necessarily was any before). In the end, we might end up with but one ISP....
        • by flitty (981864)
          Google is not the ISP. They are laying "open" lines of fiber.
        • Re:Google (Score:5, Funny)

          by Z34107 (925136) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @01:34PM (#31088756)

          Problem: All the competition is incompetent. Google is not. Google will move in to this area, destroy everyone else, and then there will be no more "competition" (not that there necessarily was any before). In the end, we might end up with but one ISP....

          Even if that happens, we'll still be (slightly) better off. Rather than have incompetent ISPs with no competition, we'll have a competent ISP with no competition.

          You can sign up for the beta here [google.com].

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Mashiki (184564)

        For the love of everything in every power, that people do and don't believe in. I want more competition. If google can bring it, I'll sing praises until I'm blue in the face. I have the option of 2 ISP's. Both with 60-90GB/mo caps, this is nothing but good in my book.

        • Re:Google (Score:4, Insightful)

          by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @02:38PM (#31089704) Journal

          this is nothing but good in my book.

          We already bitch and moan about our privacy and how much information we want any single company to have.
          Now you're excited about giving the internet's biggest data-miner 100% of your browsing traffic and behavior?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Joe Tie. (567096)
            We? Personally I consider privacy a somewhat dated concept, and don't really care.
    • Yes. (Score:5, Funny)

      by ChinggisK (1133009) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @12:34PM (#31087856)
      Ostrich farming.
    • Re:Google (Score:5, Funny)

      by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreak@ei r c o m .net> on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @12:52PM (#31088104) Homepage Journal

      Privacy protection; and ad-blocking.

    • by nschubach (922175)

      They don't do video game consoles, keyboards, mice, or portable media players... *cough*

    • Re:Google (Score:5, Insightful)

      by not already in use (972294) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @03:03PM (#31089998)
      Google seems willing and ready to tap any market that is dominated by dick-wads that have gotten too comfortable charging too much for too little. More power to them. They're going to make a lot of money off of innovating and giving people their money's worth.
  • Old news (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tmack (593755) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @12:26PM (#31087722) Homepage Journal
    They launched this a few years back iirc: http://www.google.com/tisp/ [google.com]

    tm

  • Way to go (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LeotheQuick (657964) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @12:26PM (#31087724)
    ISPs are yet another market where companies have been allowed to sit high on the hog because of the cost the advantage they have in their existing infrastructure. Any sort of competition that can give these companies a good kick in the arse is a good thing in my book. Now Google just needs to get into the banking business :-)
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @12:26PM (#31087726)
    Why would Google want to get into Fiber? Will they just track every packet you send over the net and sell that data?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Patch86 (1465427)

      RTFS?

      They want to use it as a test-bed for programmes and services under ultra-high-speed conditions. That's why they're only planning a relatively small roll our (what, less than 1/500 of the US population?).

    • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @12:38PM (#31087916)

      A) There is undoubtably money to be made installing ultra-high speed internet, the market is large and the suppliers are few. It's entirely possible that they simple intend to move into the ISP business
      B) It's in Google's best interests for everyone to have a high quality internet connection. Specifically, this is probably more about creating a market to test the next generation of web based apps than it is about anything else. Presumably, ultra-high speed connections will be more common in a few years, and Google would like the opportunity to see what exactly people will use them for. We already have the bandwidth for video, VOIP, and webapps, so what's next?

    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @12:40PM (#31087934)
      Google is already into fiber having bought out a lot of dark fiber years ago [voip-news.com]. At the time, Google said it was help reduce costs by using their own pipes rather pay a network like AT&T to connect their own data centers. Now the real question is why are they going into providing consumers fiber access.
      • by nschubach (922175)

        Now the real question is why

        Why not?

        • by chill (34294) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @01:28PM (#31088652) Journal

          Because it is damn expensive, that is "why not".

          The "why" needs to give them a good reason. My guess is this:

          1. Google's main revenue generator -- ads -- are very effective. I know a lot of people who hate Internet ads but don't mind Google's because they aren't in-your-face offensive. Considering their revenue, there are a LOT of people like that.

          2. The better your experience on the Internet, the more money Google makes.

          3. Google, therefore, rolls out products designed to improve your experience on the Internet.

          4. Profit! (Goto 2)

          This is the same logic I use to believe that Chrome isn't a threat to Mozilla Firefox. All Google cares about is better, faster, stronger Internet experience. They have the tools, they can rebuild it. Chrome isn't a competitor to Firefox.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Plus, many ISPs are trying to strip ads from pages, and insert their own in the fly. Comcast even redirects not found DNS queries to their own ad-covered site. It's in Google's interest to ensure you receive the pages as they were sent (with their ads instead of Comcast's).

            Personally, I want it (Google's ads are less offensive, and 1Gbps? Yes please).
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Amorymeltzer (1213818)

      Why should you be more fearful of Google doing that as opposed to our current swath of ISPs and Telecoms? Especially given that some of them have been proven to be amenable to wiretapping during the Bush era? Maybe I'm blurring the lines between internet and phone, but a lot of these companies provide both and as the amount of valued information continues to shift away from the telephone jack and to the ethernet cable, it is indeed a valid concern. Sure, some may prefer the Devil they know, but when weig

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @12:49PM (#31088060) Journal
      They could well have a tracking agenda, they are an advertising company, and a fair few ISPs have been seen sniffing around NebuAd and Phorm and their ilk. It certainly wouldn't surprise me.

      However, if they just wanted the tracking data, there are almost certainly cheaper, easier, and very much quieter ways to get 90% of the effect. They already have ads on some huge percentage of webpages, and set cookies all over the place, not to mention the people who stay logged in to iGoogle and the like all the time. I'm sure the additional data they could get by being the ISP would be a bonus; but I'm a lot less sure that it is a bonus worth going into the infrastructure business, and bringing down the combined marketing/lobbying wrath of every cable and telco incumbent in the US over.

      More likely, they have two basic concerns: Network quality and network neutrality.

      If available net connections suck, webapps will suck and online experiences generally will suck. More people will continue to use desktop apps, or iPhone style purpose-specific applications, which will mean fewer people looking at adsense ads and using webapps. That would make Google a sad panda.

      If the incumbent carriers, telco and cable, are in the position to do so, it will be immensely tempting for them to sell access to "their consumers". At worst, this will mean Google gets blocked entirely. At best, this will shift money out of Google's margins and into Comcast and Verizon's margins. Google really has to shiv them before they shiv google on this one.
    • Uhm.... people pay them money to use the internets... Man... not everything is data mining. Shouldn't be that confusing how a ISP can make money, they aren't giving it away (that I know of....).
    • With a broadband connection 100x faster they can deliver 100x more ads :)

    • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @01:23PM (#31088550) Homepage Journal

      They don't. They want to embarrass the real ISP's into building decent networks so the network-neutrality issue goes away and they don't wind up having to pay the ISP's for traffic they're sending to its customers.

      Google is always playing the chess board three moves ahead.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by micromoog (206608)
      Most of Google's business model is based on Internet-based client-server interaction. The faster people's connections are, the better their core products work.

      Since the state of high-speed internet in the US today is basically an abusive oligopoly, Google has a huge interest in changing that market for the better.
    • by DragonWriter (970822) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @02:02PM (#31089234)

      Why would Google want to get into Fiber?

      Among many other reasons, its a net neutrality insurance policy. Google favors net neutrality, but if net neutrality foes succeed (and that's an ongoing threat, because they don't tend to back off even as the FCC reiterates its support for net neutrality principles) it needs its own links directly to consumers as a hedge against other big network providers (particularly those that are also trying to compete with other Google services, whether video offerings that compete with YouTube, phone offerings that compete in some ways with Voice, or something else) -- impairing access to Google's services. If Google can position themselves as a competitive fiber-to-consumer provider, it puts them in a position where such actions by competing service providers that are also fiber providers are riskier because of the potential for retaliation.

      Google has a strategic investment in not making the internet into a set of disjoint walled gardens, but ultimately the best way of insuring that is to guarantee that if its competitors try to convert it into such a system, those competitors will lose.

  • by eparker05 (1738842) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @12:26PM (#31087728)

    The big names in networking (AT&T, Charter, etc.) are going to sue Google on antitrust grounds because it is easier to hire lawyers than to upgrade failing and obsolete networks.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FlyingBishop (1293238)

      Which will pan out about as well as Palm's attempt to get Apple in trouble for breaching the USB standard.

    • by alen (225700)

      if you think Google is going to have 1gbps of bandwidth for everyone one of their users then you are deluding yourself

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Idiomatick (976696)
        100mbps with any RELIABILITY would be pretty industry shifting for North America. I'd prefer they focus on that rather than burst speeds... I suppose if they get it high enough the slow speeds will be enough assuming it doesn't drop much... But that is quite a big statement, even for Google. 1gbps for 500k ppl and cost competitive? No company in the world has lines to homes like this... World's fastest have been hovering around 60Mbps for quite a while now. Entering a new market and completely dominating ev
    • by Random BedHead Ed (602081) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @01:35PM (#31088788) Homepage Journal

      The big names in networking (AT&T, Charter, etc.) are going to sue Google on antitrust grounds because it is easier to hire lawyers than to upgrade failing and obsolete networks.

      Perhaps they will. But consider: this is not a profit engine for Google, in much the same way that Android isn't a profit engine. Google says this service is to test new high-bandwidth technologies, and I don't doubt that's true, but it's probably also true that they're just trying to upset this market because the established cable companies are a threat to their other businesses, both because of their slowness to raise the bandwidth bar and because of their marriages to legacy content distribution.

      Because of this, Google probably doesn't care whether they own this service or not. I bet if the big networking dinosaurs sued Google, Google could settle with them by agreeing to spin off the fiber Internet company, yet still accomplish all of the original project goals. It would be like if Google had to cut Android free - it would still satisfy Google's main goal of creating an open platform that's more friendly to their mobile web services than Apple's or Microsoft's is likely to be.

    • by russlar (1122455) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @02:26PM (#31089552)

      The big names in networking (AT&T, Charter, etc.) are going to sue Google on antitrust grounds because it is easier to hire lawyers than to upgrade failing and obsolete networks.

      Maybe. Except that, if they base their anti-trust claim on the basis that Google would own both the content and the connection to that content, then Comcast's acquisition of NBC would also be subject to this same suit.

      I can't see Comcast suing itself.

  • in Big Internet Bloodsucking Company headquarters:
    CEO: [loading gun] "Jimmy, tell my wife... Tell her I never gave a fuck about anyone but myself. Ha! Hahahahahaaa!"
    [pan to wall. shot heard, brains splatter]
    • They need not worry. They already bought and paid for the local politicians to make sure nobody else comes in.

  • by Itninja (937614) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @12:28PM (#31087770) Homepage
    I just tried to 'recommend my community' and apparently one needs to be part of some community organization to make the recommendation. I wonder if 'my house' can be considered a community organization?
  • Almost everything inside my house is still running at 100Mbps (or less, over 802.11g/n wireless bridges). And even then, my router still melts if I actually let BitTorrent run full out. I sense a lot of upgrades needed before I could even come close to taking full advantage of a 1Gbps line.

    • by scubamage (727538)
      Most of the time the ISP supplies a supported router. I'm sure google would be no different. If not, cheap routers aren't that hard to come by.
    • by Tumbleweed (3706) *

      I sense a lot of upgrades needed before I could even come close to taking full advantage of a 1Gbps line.

      That's called 'incentivizing'. :)

    • Usually that's not related to the actual throughput. The problem is that those routers don't have enough RAM to keep up with all the connections bittorrent opens, and many lock up or slow down.

  • I'm shocked (Score:5, Funny)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @12:39PM (#31087926)
    23 comments about a 1 gigabit home connection, and not one of them has even mentioned the word "porn"?!? Man, you guys are slipping...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      23 comments about a 1 gigabit home connection, and not one of them has even mentioned the word "porn"?!? Man, you guys are slipping...

      I was going to post something about that earlier, but my typing hand was...otherwise occupied.

      Better late than never.

    • On the downside .... goatse at fiber speeds eewwwwww.

    • 23 comments about a 1 gigabit home connection, and not one of them has even mentioned the word "porn"?!? Man, you guys are slipping...

      It's the Astroglide.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by tool462 (677306)

      1Gbps connection would be overkill, as there is another bottleneck in terms of porn consumption.

      Let's just say my pipe would be saturated.

  • by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @12:53PM (#31088118)

    Google really understands Slashdot. Everything pertinent in the blog post fits just fine in the summary. No need to read the "article." It isn't an article. It's just a blog post soliciting proposals.

    Seems an odd way to go about it. It's missing the one thing that is relevant to market demand: price. I don't know whether my community would care to be part of it because I don't know how much it would cost the users. I know for a fact that people are only willing to pay so much for high bandwidth, and past that, they decide it's not worth the cost.

    Worse, most internet hosts throttle or load balance their outbound throughput to any one destination. I had 20 megabit downstream service for a while, and the only way to come remotely close to saturating it was bittorrent. And I never did saturate it. I managed to sustain over 10 megabit only twice, ever, and that was hard to do and didn't last. Even most streaming video sites transmit at no more than 300 KB/s (2.4 megabit), and many, if not most, transmit slower than that.

    Sounds to me like the whole thing is going to be a disappointment to them. Truly high bandwidth demands will only emerge when truly high bandwidth (1 gigabit) is widely deployed and widely subscribed to, and when major servers move from truly high bandwidth to absurdly high bandwidth (10 gigabit through to the backbone). All of their scenarios can be satisfied by deploying fiber to just a few premises, like hospitals and clinics, which is a big dumb duh idea anyway. It's not already done? The nebulous "let's see what happens" goal they have depends on lots of people having access to lots of bandwidth. Network effects have to kick in before a network is valuable. Build it and they will come, but there's no way to predict what they'll actually use it for. It will take large numbers of bored programmers fiddling around with their high bandwidth to generate something to use all that bandwidth, and they won't bother if 90% of their potential audience has 1/1000th of the bandwidth.

    In short, it's the network, stupid.

    • by kalidasa (577403)
      I would imagine that Google will also deploy gigabit worthy applications.
    • I had 20 megabit downstream service for a while, and the only way to come remotely close to saturating it was bittorrent. And I never did saturate it. I managed to sustain over 10 megabit only twice, ever, and that was hard to do and didn't last. Even most streaming video sites transmit at no more than 300 KB/s (2.4 megabit), and many, if not most, transmit slower than that.

      So what? You don't use more than one app at the same time? I like being able to use bittorrent, plus download files (over HTTP), plus l

  • Would be much easier to data-mine if you control actual pieces of the network...
  • Ooh...ooh, pick me! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Overzeetop (214511) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @12:56PM (#31088160) Journal

    Seriously. Blacksburg, Virginia (home of Virginia Tech) was supposed to have 10bT to every home back in the 90s - the Blacksburg Electronic Village they called it. You would think we'd be sitting pretty for even higher speed by now. It never materialized. We've got Verizon (copper only, 3Mb max speed) or Comcast (formerly Adelphia, ~7Mb max speed, when the moon is full). There are a few other minor players, but they are either geared towards the large apartment complexes or businesses (and make Verizon look inexpensive). Heck, I'm close enough in that my power is from Virginia Tech electric.

    I don't need huge total volume, I just want blisteringly fast for shortish periods.

    • *highfive* for a Blacksburg Brother!
    • by Nimey (114278)

      My small (8500 people) hometown in southwestern Missouri was going to have something like that as well - I believe it was called an Acorn televillage.

      The developer only built one house before it went bust, and the house was never occupied.

  • pulling a gmail (Score:5, Insightful)

    by speed of lightx2 (1375759) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @12:59PM (#31088198)
    When gmail first appeared, the two big free email services were yahoo and hotmail. Hotmail have you 2MB to play with, and Yahoo was a bit more generous with 5 (if I remember correctly). That seemed to be the status-quo until google offered with gmail 200 times more free storage (plus features).
  • by Taibhsear (1286214) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @01:03PM (#31088254)

    in the world, please compete with Comcast and the other monopoly ISPs. The speeds in Chicago finally got upgraded a bit but the throttling, bandwidth caps, and retarded pricing shenanigans still have to go. Comcast is still one of the leaders in customer service douchebaggery so any competition is greatly appreciated. (RCN and Verizon FIOS are the only thing even close, speed wise, but they have never been available in any of the areas I have ever lived in in Chicago.)

  • It would be nice to see if they have some for Canada as well, I am looking forward also to them offering their successful venture once it is up and running to the public as a replacement to most disgruntled ISP clients that are tired of not having any choices.

  • Omaha is right next door to your new data center in Council Bluffs, IA, and a telecommunications hub for the country. You know you want to roll out here.

  • I take this:

    To that end, we'll use our RFI to identify interested communities and to assess local factors that will impact the efficiency and speed of our deployment, such as the level of community support, local resources, weather conditions, approved construction methods and local regulatory issues.

    to mean that they're not going to deal with winter in this round.

  • I get this post [gwi.net] from a friend of mine in Maine. Looks like our government is sporting over some recovery funds and one of Maine's more aggresive ISPs is gonna spend it making fiber around the rural areas of Maine.

    And he better hurry, or Google will beat him to it! Oh, wait... Google will be looking for density and volume users. Where volume is spelled with dollar signs.

    Now, are other states also going to start pulling fiber to add to the existing dark fiber, so we can continue to be ready to serve rural A

  • by cjjjer (530715) <cjjjer&hotmail,com> on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @01:33PM (#31088752)
    I can see it now Google wants to put a settop box (GoogleTV??) in every house, running the latest ChromeOS it can then stream content and ads to you while you browse the internet and watch TV media and read Print media from your TV.

    Makes perfect sense.
  • Mark Shuttleworth (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RichM (754883) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @03:46PM (#31090410) Homepage
    Apparently Mark Shuttleworth has a 1Gbit connection to his home or thereabouts.
    People often forget too that downloading at that speed is dependant on hard disk throughput. You'll struggle to get above 50MB/sec which is about 400MBit a sec.
    • by mibus (26291) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @08:10PM (#31093766) Homepage

      People often forget too that downloading at that speed is dependant on hard disk throughput

      Only if you're intending to save it to disk. Streaming multiple HD video streams (one for you, one or two for your kids) etc. etc. will use gobs of bandwidth with zero disk activity - and is only going to get larger (3D, 4K-resolution, etc).

      Granted, you'd still have plenty of room left over in your gigabit, but I'm sure we'll find something useful to use it for. (Astronomers working from home? :)

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