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Google Networking The Internet

Google Fiber: Why Traditional ISPs Are Officially On Notice 408

Posted by timothy
from the bulldoze-away dept.
MojoKid writes "A few years ago, when Google was determining which city to launch its pilot Google Fiber program, cities all over the country went all-out trying to persuade the search giant to bring all that fantastical bandwidth to their neck of the woods. And with good reason: Google Fiber offers gigabit Internet speeds and even TV service, all at prices that meet or beat the competition. In fact, the lowest tier of Google Fiber service (5Mbps down, 1Mbps up) is free, once users pay a $300 construction fee. If ISPs were concerned before, they should really start sweating it now. Although Google Fiber looked like it would whip traditional ISPs in every regard, with Time Warner Cable cutting prices and boosting speeds for users in Kansas City in a desperate attempt to keep them, surely other ISPs were hoping the pilot program would flame out. Now that Austin is happening, it's clear that it's only a matter of time before Google rolls out its service in many more cities. Further, this jump from legacy Internet speeds to gigabit-class service is not just about people wanting to download movies faster; it's a sea change in what the Internet is really capable of."
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Google Fiber: Why Traditional ISPs Are Officially On Notice

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  • Oy. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by greenguy (162630) <`estebandido' `at' `gmail.com'> on Friday April 12, 2013 @11:07PM (#43438181) Homepage Journal

    These are our choices: stick with a variety of crappy ISPs, or consolidate on one that's pretty decent, but whose business model consists of stripping us of our privacy and funneling our Internet experience through its pipes.

    This is not the 21st century I was told to expect.

    • Re:Oy. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 12, 2013 @11:19PM (#43438241)

      You say that like the current variety of crappy ISPs don't already strip us of our privacy and funnel our internet experience through its pipes.

      • Re:Oy. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Somebody Is Using My (985418) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @08:57AM (#43439883) Homepage

        The difference between Google and ISPs is that the latter do not make it a /business/ of removing its users privacy. Yes, they may glean some additional benefit from the process, but it's a far cry from Google, in whose interest it is to know everything there is about you. For ISPs, it is sometimes in their interest to claim ignorance about their user's activities ("Oh, Bob is torrenting copyrighted material 24/7? Hmmm, well, we don't really monitor that sort of thing and anyway, our logs only go back six months..."). Google wants as large a database on each user as possible.

        ISPs aren't really that happy that they are being forced to collect info for the government either. They aren't actively resisting (sadly), but if it was something they could opt-out of, you can be sure they would. Data collection is expensive, not only in terms of hardware and software, but in the resultant upset of customers if they learn you are doing it. Even for business use, the data only has limited value because the ISPs are not in advertising; they can use it internally and with a few of their partners, but they don't have the capability to maximize the value of the data. This limits what they can do with the data and how much money they can earn from the data-collection. This finite utility, combined with the cost of the data collection and the potential to upset the customers, restricts the ISPs from going full-bore with stripping user privacy.

        Google will never opt-out of data-collection - for themselves or at request of governmental entities - because that is what they do. That is how they make money. Just as data-collection might be a side business to the ISPs, providing internet service is just a side business to Google.

        And that is the difference between ISPs and Google.

        • Re:Oy. (Score:4, Informative)

          by SydShamino (547793) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @09:34AM (#43439971)

          The difference between Google and ISPs is that the latter do not make it a /business/ of removing its users privacy. Yes, they may glean some additional benefit from the process, but it's a far cry from Google, in whose interest it is to know everything there is about you. For ISPs, it is sometimes in their interest to claim ignorance about their user's activities ... ISPs aren't really that happy that they are being forced to collect info for the government either.

          Speak for yourself. My current provider is AT&T, and since I live in central Austin I'll be dropping them in a heartbeat for Google.

        • Re:Oy. (Score:4, Informative)

          by IICV (652597) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @10:24AM (#43440225)

          Dude, some ISPs are already injecting ads into web content that you access through them [blogspot.com]. If it's a choice between that and Google knowing that I look at Slashdot ten times a day, I'm pretty okay with the loss of privacy.

        • Re:Oy. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by kermidge (2221646) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @10:59PM (#43444157) Journal

          Just a reminder about AT&T - from the initial disclosure some years back, apparently their traffic goes through DPI with semantic filtering; whether that's just for the coastal nodes or all in-country stuff, I don't know. However, while I rarely use BT for anything but distro iso's, or open, public domain, or paid software and other media, the only time I got a letter about 'forbidden' activities, it was from AT&T - but that was after they got into the content-provider stuff, so I'm guessing they watch your stuff on behalf of studios and networks.

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      What I'm hoping for are some other upstart competitiors to Google Fiber. Here in Seattle we have (or rather, should soon have) http://gigabitseattle.com/ [gigabitseattle.com] which looks to be similar service to Google Fiber but without the Google part. I don't want Google to become the next 800lb gorilla (or Comcast) of ISPs, I just want
      A) something better than the current sorry state of ISP options
      B) an end to ISP giants of *any* sort
      C) some actual competition in this space.

      Right now, at least in the Seattle area, we *almost*

      • Re:Oy. (Score:4, Informative)

        by soundguy (415780) on Friday April 12, 2013 @11:50PM (#43438425) Homepage

        They aren't going to "crush" Comcast and Frontier. My FIOS fiber is already capable of 1 gb, but the interface on the side of the house says it's only good for about 250 mbps. They'd just need to change that and add some new stuff at the head end. I'm currently paying for 30/30, but I can see them offering 100 for the same price if Google starts sniffing around. Comcast is already offering 100 mb in some markets and they can probably steal more bandwidth from their cable TV spectrum to ramp up to a gig if it really becomes necessary. Coax has a lot of room in it as long as it's in good physical shape.

        Remember that "Seattle" (including the suburbs) is about 100 miles long and 50 miles wide. Comcast covers nearly all of that. It took Verizon (who recently sold their local plant to Frontier) about 10 years to connect a few small areas in the 'burbs. It would be decades before Google could cover the whole thing. Comcast only has to beef up the areas that Google entered and that probably wouldn't include the FIOS areas. Remember that even though per capital income is pretty high here, the customer density is pretty low compared to the major metropolitan areas like NYC, LAX, etc. I think the whole region still only has about 2 million people. Google might do the East side just to piss off Microsoft though :-)

      • Re:Oy. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Martin Blank (154261) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @01:09AM (#43438741) Journal

        What I'm hoping for are some other upstart competitiors to Google Fiber.

        Google has said several times that this is exactly what they're trying to foster. Google gets an advantage from deploying fiber aside from the privacy issues that most people consider. They get loyalty. When one of their features is to "[r]ecord up to eight programs simultaneously, just because you can," it engenders a loyalty that the others can't touch.

        From what they've said, I expect they don't really want to be in the ISP business, but as their core business depends in large part on growing bandwidth, they felt they had to do something to push the boundary. I would gladly pay $300 (or even more) for gigabit service. I moved to my current location specifically for FiOS availability and pay $105/month for 150/65 service. I am considering moving from Dallas to Austin in the near term mostly because I like the community, but also now in large part due to Google Fiber coming to the area. Everybody (Austin, Google, and me) wins then.

        • by symbolset (646467) *

          Google would like to inspire us to do muni gigabit broadband and quit with this retail biz. They don't like retail biz and they're not good at it. Unfortunately that's not going to happen in ISP land because of regulatory capture and so Google is going to have to deliver us gigabit fiber broadband at an unseemly 90% margin after their 12-month ROI. They would rather not, but if that's what they gotta do to build the next-gen Internet, they're willing to go there for us.

          Reluctant heros and all that...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Read more Orwell and less Asimov. It will correct your perspective. Remember, your computer is a telescreen.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm pretty sure that Google is better in every single respect than the traditional ISP. I'm pretty sure none of them protect your privacy and in fact do the shitty DNS ad serving for unknown domains which Google does not do. Google is much closer to an ideal provider than anything else out there.

    • Re:Oy. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 12, 2013 @11:23PM (#43438273)

      You don't think your own isp mines the hell out of any data they can get about you in order to sell it to someone else? You're delusional.

      At least google is pretty up front about what they are doing.

      I'll drop comcast sooooo fast if google ever comes here. Just on price alone it blows the fuck out of comcast. Not to mention comcast being incompetent and clueless most of the time when you need service... And the price keeps going up but the quality does not. AND the invisible cap to our limited unlimited connection. AND all the other bullshit.

      Nobody would ever CHOOSE to use comcast if they had some real choices available. And google is a real choice in two places now. Lets hope they bring it to everyone.

      If i was a ceo of one of these large monopolies... I'd be really worried.. People are cutting their cable for tv in droves.. Soon they'll be cutting it for their connection too. Just because we're all so very very sick of their bullshit and tired of them beyond belief.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by phantomfive (622387)
      Then don't use Google services. Use their internet connection only.

      They don't actually look at your internet traffic, at least, they don't claim to. Maybe they are lying, but as with any internet service, if you care about privacy you better encrypt that stuff.
    • There is no such thing as privacy for a time now. And Google is not even the major responsible for that. Thinking otherwise is an illusion.
      • "There is no such thing as privacy for a time now."

        False. You can have it if you want it.

        "And Google is not even the major responsible for that."

        It's certainly ONE OF the major entities responsible.

    • by jbolden (176878)

      This is not the 21st century I was told to expect.

      Most scifi is rather depressing. I would have figured better than the 21st century you were told to expect by most.

      • by gagol (583737)
        Why am I not living in the leisure society and own a flying car? Economics have a hard time catching up with sci-fi apparently. And few people with real money dont want to let go of it for the benefits of the many. News at 11.
        • I'm just pissed no one has figured out how to combine a roomba and a fleshlight yet. So close to the future, and yet so far away.

    • by bored (40072)

      tick with a variety of crappy ISPs, or consolidate on one that's pretty decent, but whose business model consists of stripping us of our privacy and funneling our Internet experience through its pipes.

      I'm not sure that google is any worse than the alternatives in this regard. TW/at&t/etc are actively watching everything you do just incase you happen to download something they don't think you should have.

      Its not much of a stretch to see summary information recorded for long periods of time. Wouldn't surp

    • These are our choices: stick with a variety of crappy ISPs, or consolidate on one that's pretty decent, but whose business model consists of stripping us of our privacy and funneling our Internet experience through its pipes.

      This is not the 21st century I was told to expect.

      If you think that you are getting privacy from your other ISPs, I have a bridge to sell you. At best, the incumbents might be sufficiently lazy and incompetent that their ability to violate your privacy is limited by sheer inertia; but I wouldn't bet on it, and I certainly wouldn't bet on anything better than that...

    • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Saturday April 13, 2013 @12:21AM (#43438549) Journal

      Lemme try reframing the REALLY sticky question:

      Which would you rather have, the ISP whose business model includes Six Strikes programs in league with the Govt, or Google that just might not, but at the cost of stripping your privacy?

      • by amiga3D (567632)

        You assume that we have privacy now?

      • Lemme try reframing the REALLY sticky question:

        Which would you rather have, the ISP whose business model includes Six Strikes programs in league with the Govt, or Google that just might not, but at the cost of stripping your privacy?

        Perhaps you can explain how googles high speed internet service will strip you of your privacy any more than any other internet service. Personally I don't see it. Comcast/Time Warner et. al. are already monitoring what you do on the web for their own purposes. If you want unmonitored bandwidth try the Post Office. It's slow but no one reads you mail.. most of the time.

        Really though, this is just two sides of one coin, and I don't see how this changes anything, except my bandwidth speed.

    • Re:Oy. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gerzel (240421) <<brollyferret> <at> <gmail.com>> on Saturday April 13, 2013 @01:03AM (#43438709) Journal

      I read cyberpunk novels. Things are pretty much on course.

      • This.

        Aside from the predicted timing of a few natural disasters rearranging certain urban areas, we're on track.

  • by Aryeh Goretsky (129230) on Friday April 12, 2013 @11:11PM (#43438199) Homepage

    Hello,

    I think continuing the rollout of Google Fiber is a good move by Google, even if it does not extend to all locations, it forces the competition to upgrade in others to prevent the threat of wholesale abandonment if/when it does arrive. Having a broadband connection connection changes not just the amount of your Internet usage, but what you use the Internet for.

    I remember switching from dial-up to cable Internet access with a single-digit megabit speed back in the mid-1990s, and it opened up a whole new world of activities for me. Instead of buying retail packaged software, I could purchase and download it from the author's site. Starting a download of a video and waiting for it to complete became video streaming with services like YouTube.

    I really have no idea what sort of change a gigabit Internet connection will bring, but it's just as likely to open up all sorts of new services for consumers and opportunities for revenue for software developers and content providers that were unimaginable a few years ago.

    Regards,

    Aryeh Goretsky

    • by jdogalt (961241) on Friday April 12, 2013 @11:35PM (#43438341) Journal

      I really have no idea what sort of change a gigabit Internet connection will bring, but it's just as likely to open up all sorts of new services for consumers and opportunities for revenue for software developers and content providers that were unimaginable a few years ago.

      This is what I was really hoping, but sadly discovered that their initial terms of service prohibited all residential customers from hosting any kind of server. While this is not exactly unexpected, I do consider it a violation of FCC-10-201/NetNeutrality's "blocking" prong. Though traditionally that is understood as residential ISPs blocking a residential client from a remote server, I also believe it applies to the symmetric use of IPv6, i.e. remote clients blocked from residential servers. My FCC 2000F complaint (ref#12-C000422224-1) is currently in "Enforcement review" after 7 months of getting bounced to the Kansas Attorney General who just bounced it back to the quite slow to respond FCC.

      Anyway, until we can get some sort of residential internet users bill of rights for what they can expect from their bridge to the global information superhighway, I don't think we'll see remotely the advances in new services that we otherwise would.

      $0.02...

      http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3503531&cid=43033891 [slashdot.org]

      • by bored (40072)

        Yah, good luck with that. I remember back when "no servers" was a policy one or two ISP's had, that was worth little more than the paper it was written on. Now I challenge you to fine a residential ISP that doesn't have it, and even worse a huge majority of them actively enforce it via port blocking. TW in Austin started blocking port 80 back 2000/2001 or so because of some worm that was propagating via some crappy web server everyone was running on windows. At least that was their excuse at the time. Now d

    • by timeOday (582209)
      Excuse me for being unimaginative, but if nothing else it will enable 4k television. 20-40 mbits per stream will use up plenty of bandwidth.
    • If you can deal with the hackers via player policing and general anti-hack techniques, gigabit Internet in theory can make action online computer games with hundreds of thousands to millions of people in the same zone via P2P. 200 bytes(position/facing/velocity/action) per 33 ms(reasonable refresh time) = 6k per second, round up to 10k because the player will have actions too. So you're looking at 1,000,000k / 10k people you can feed your information outbound or 100,000 players.

      Then if you just apply
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 12, 2013 @11:11PM (#43438201)

    Local power company. Freaked out the established interests to the point where Comcast has targeted advertising claiming people have left EPB to go back to them.

    The only problem? The people in those commercials sound like such whiny gits, anybody with sense would walk away from Comcast.

    Seriously, what kind of relationship is built on a demand to change your cable service?

  • Gimmick media story (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kriston (7886) on Friday April 12, 2013 @11:18PM (#43438239) Homepage Journal

    This is a media story engineered to generate goodwill. I would not go so far as to call it a gimmick, but it sounds and feels like one.

    FTTH, as it's known, costs between $5,000 and $12,000 per home in the rural market and only exists through subsidy. By comparision, FTTH is between $1,500 and $3,000 in suburban markets which is recouped by annual customer commitments.

    The only way these costs are made affordable is through government subsidies. Google is subsidizing these customers in a similar way. As with many subsidies, unless they are bonafide charity/goodwill missions, they are not sustainable. This is okay as long as Google has the goodwill of the overall financial markts, by, e.g., having such a huge P/E ratio that they enjoy enough excess money to spend on things like driverless cars, imaging satellites, and hot tub airplaines.

    Speeds comparable to FTTH can be achieved for so much less money by using Fiber to the Neighborhood instead of to the home. While I'm no fan of local cable TV monopolies, they already do this today. The problem many local cable TV companies is that they still carry local channels in analog. If they were to convert to all-digital carriage their existing cable plant could compare with FTTH using DOCSIS 3.x but this dream inexplicably escapes them.

    • by timeOday (582209) on Friday April 12, 2013 @11:47PM (#43438403)

      FTTH is between $1,500 and $3,000 in suburban markets which is recouped by annual customer commitments. The only way these costs are made affordable is through government subsidies.

      Pfft, those prices are right in line with the total price [about.com] for a two year contract on an iPhone, which I don't have but lots of people do. I've had Comcast cable Internet (@home initially) for 14 years now, which is somewhat over $15,000 in total. Customers are laying out enough money is being laid out to justify some re-investment now and then.

      • by bored (40072)

        Pfft, those prices are right in line with the total price for a two year contract on an iPhone,

        Forget the iphone, the cable companies cheap plans are generally in the $100 a month range for "triple play" or whatever they call it in your market. If you actually want fast internet, and some sports channels your probably paying closer to $200 a month.

        And the expensive part of the infrastructure (the cable down the street) lasts decades. How many years has the phone company milked the unshielded twisted pair th

    • Speeds comparable to FTTH can be achieved for so much less money by using Fiber to the Neighborhood instead of to the home.

      Comcast is charging customers (where they don't feel like building) $60K per mile here. A local group doing PON is under $20K.

    • by fermion (181285) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @12:14AM (#43438513) Homepage Journal
      It is also a gimmick because Austin is a small, compact and well wired. Google is picking the low hanging fruit, not really helping anyone. If they would have gone into any other city, it might have done some good.

      Here is what I have seen with broadband. Firms, as much as they say they are running the last mile, are really only doing so in high income high density area, mostly the suburbs. In many ares the best is someone like ATT who already has a presence. In other areas the only hope is cable. Not even ATT is going to spend the money to run a few miles of line and only serve a single small neighborhood.

      So it would be pretty to think that Google is trying to put official ISPs on notice, but they are not. If they would they would have chosen another city in texas, run fiber to the neighborhoods around the central business district, and completely obliterated cable and ATT, and provided high speed to some people who could really use it. Instead they chose a safe place with a safe population that would return a high profit on relatively little investment. Even if many use the free service, the city is dense enough so that they will have many customers for each mile of fiber run.

  • by schwit1 (797399) on Friday April 12, 2013 @11:23PM (#43438269)

    The ISP oligopoly is not going to sit still. They will get laws passed that put impediments in the way of Google.

  • Gigabit connection (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Friday April 12, 2013 @11:23PM (#43438271) Journal
    1 Gigabit connection for $70 a month?

    I understand why we don't get this on average across the US, because population density is low. But why don't we get it in the Bay Area? We have high population density, and surely there is demand. What is wrong with California?
    • by AmazinglySmooth (1668735) on Friday April 12, 2013 @11:36PM (#43438343)
      If you have to ask... Actually, the big benefit in Austin is the city owned utility. It will make it easier to procure right-of-way.
    • by jbolden (176878) on Friday April 12, 2013 @11:43PM (#43438377) Homepage

      What Google and Verizon have said is that their costs are high due to regulation and hurdles. It is to complex to navigate the CA agencies. There is no one they can just "do business with" but rather dozens of agencies all of which have to be passed through. What's wrong with California is you don't have political machines in CA.

    • by Animats (122034) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @03:58AM (#43439185) Homepage

      Sonic.net offers gigabit fiber connections in Sebastopol CA now, and they're expanding next to the Sunset District in San Francisco. They may have more real paying customers on fiber than Google does. They're a small ISP and don't want to overextend themselves, so they're deploying slowly.

    • In CA, for every dollar they spend on fiber, they have to spend ten on regulatory BS - environmental impact studies, energy efficiency certifications, etc etc. CA is a liberal "WE" state, where people think "WE" are building a fiber network, so "WE" (each member of the public) should discuss and decide on each detail. That particular "we" wants the project to run on sunshine and butterflys, and "we" don't care how much it costs. That may result in "fairness", but it doesn't get the job done on time or on b
  • by BlueCoder (223005) on Friday April 12, 2013 @11:25PM (#43438287)

    I think states and cities should be rolling out their own fiber. Sort of like building roads. And then subsidize installation for last mile fiber for any homeowner that can afford $1000. They don't need to install the network equipment but they can or they can lease the lines to businesses. The state could fund a redundant backbone network that the cities could trunk into. Just design the lines to be replaced every 30 years.

    Cites could then individually choose to offer "free" internet. Of course that would mean they would just subcontract out to a business to provide the network equipment and service. Cities pay for these sorts of things through property taxes.

      I may be libertarian but I classify this as necessary infrastructure that will benefit the vast majority. Everything else is just more expensive.

    • I've said for a while now that fiber to the home will become a utility eventually, and just like the power companies all have different generation points, distribution points, and delivery points, same will go with fiber. (DSL is already sorta like this, anyway, with the Bell system usually only providing the last mile connectivity for the other DSL providers in the area.)

    • Just design the lines to be replaced every 30 years.

      I think you'd probably want them to be replaced more often than that. At least, over the past 30 years you'd want them replaced more often than that. Can you imagine being stuck on 'high speed' internet from 20 years ago?

    • I think states and cities should be rolling out their own fiber. Sort of like building roads. And then subsidize installation ... Cites could then individually choose to offer "free" internet. ... Cities pay for these sorts of things through property taxes. ... I may be libertarian but I classify this as necessary infrastructure that will benefit the vast majority.

      Considering your plan, you are definitely not a libertarian. Even this statist pinko thinks it's going too far. What would be reasonable is a municipally owned utility, but it would have to pay for itself through subscription fees. Even though I'd take advantage of it, I'd go ballistic if this were paid for with my property taxes.

    • But socialism......
    •   I may be libertarian but I classify this as necessary infrastructure that will benefit the vast majority. Everything else is just more expensive.

      Another libertarian who says the same. Roads, electrification, phones, and now internet. Not all libertarians are anarchists.

    • by vix86 (592763)
      Japan's fiber already works something like this. NTT laid a lot of fiber years ago and I believe a lot of it was subsidized. Today they still do the same and when you want to sign up for it you call them and they can run it to your house or room. Then you sign up for an ISP who deals with delivering your data to the net. You pay a bit each month for maintaining the line and the rest for the isp access. It's really convenient and a 100/100 is about 60USD a month.
  • by Vrallis (33290) on Friday April 12, 2013 @11:32PM (#43438323) Homepage

    Basically it's a big "fuck you" to the incumbent ISPs and a wake-up call to the public as to how badly we're being screwed by those ISPs. Data caps, incredible markups for marginal speed increases, etc. Google is proving those are all bullshit and still profitable.

    • This reminds me of what happened with Gmail back when it was first introduced. It's hard to remember how big of a deal it was that Gmail was offering 1GB of storage when it launched, since 1GB is seen as paltry now, but it was a far cry from the likes of 20MB and 50MB being offered by its biggest competitors at the time, and it brought about a big change in terms of what users came to expect.

      Even though this is far more expensive and far more difficult, I'm hoping it can bring about similar changes nationwi

  • Those neighborhoods where demand for high-quality service is "high" will get cheap Internet.

    To make up for lost revenue in "Google Fiber" cities, nationwide ISPs will likely scale back infrastructure improvements elsewhere and/or raise prices where they still have effective monopolies/cartels.

    They will also be more careful about investing "for the long term" if they know someone like Google can come in at any time and make their investment worth less than they expected it to be.

    • by bored (40072)

      They will also be more careful about investing "for the long term" if they know someone like Google can come in at any time and make their investment worth less than they expected it to be.

      First, google has said they are doing this because the incumbents aren't. Secondly, everyone has costs associated with running the fiber. The first company that gets into the neighborhood is going to be able to command significantly higher margins until the second. Hence they will be able to recupe a larger portion of the

  • Consider the following:
    • Google often jumps into things without considering all of the details.
    • If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

    Google broadband is more likely to end up like Google Reader than it is GMail. I'd like to believe in free donuts and bacon, but I suspect that there are a few things about the economics of running an ISP that the utopians at Mountain View have missed when setting their initial price. Happy to be proven wrong, but Google doesn't have a great track record when it co

    • by hjf (703092)

      From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comcast [wikipedia.org]

      Revenue Increase US$ 62.570 billion (2012)
      Operating income US$ 12.179 billion (2012)
      Net income US$ 6.203 billion (2012)

      Pretty sure "internet is cheap". It's "consumer" ISPs that charge you ridiculous numbers. Datacenter-side, prices are silly. And if you don't know anything about inter-ISP traffic, don't read up on "peering agreements" because knowing that "big" ISPs interconnect with each other for free (as in $0) will piss you off real bad. T

    • by isorox (205688) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @02:51AM (#43439003) Homepage Journal

      Consider the following:

      • Google often jumps into things without considering all of the details.
      • If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

      Google broadband is more likely to end up like Google Reader than it is GMail. I'd like to believe in free donuts and bacon, but I suspect that there are a few things about the economics of running an ISP that the utopians at Mountain View have missed when setting their initial price. Happy to be proven wrong, but Google doesn't have a great track record when it comes to predicting the long term viability of its projects.

      Back when gmail launched, the typical offering from yahoo/hotmail/etc was about 10MB. Gmail launched with 1GB. It was such a ridiculous proposition at the time that people considered it an april fool [slashdot.org].

  • by buybuydandavis (644487) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @01:01AM (#43438703)

    I think the fiber is more like the Nexus products, and even Android.

    I don't know that Google wants to be an ISP any more than they want to be a device manufacturer or a language house. But they'll do a little of both to push the market the way they want it. They don't want to be rule the world as an ISP, they just want ISPs to have service that makes Google more money.

  • by Above (100351) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @01:05AM (#43438723)

    Fiber To The Home (FTTH) is awesome, and how all of America should be connected. Just as the first half of the 20th century was spent wiring all of the homes for the telephone, the first half of the 21st century should be spent wiring for broadband. Gigabit (and higher, in the future) over fiber is what will enable the really interesting applications and increase the entire economic productivity of the nation.

    Google Fiber is not the answer. Worse, several replies in this thread have talked about other competitors, multiple people delivering Gigabit to every neighborhood. This is simply crazy. How many water pipes reach your house? How many sewer pipes? How many roads? How many phone lines? How many cable lines?

    ONE

    Building this sort of infrastructure is a HUGE cost. Much of it is reaching your neighborhood, once there getting to each home is relatively easy. Simply having two competitors comes close to doubling the cost, as the number of homes to bear the cost is cut in half. This is the reason there's no independent company with water pipes in your neighborhood competing for your business. It's also why we granted monopolies for telephone and cable in the past; rather than have government build it we "outsourced" to corporate entities for those services.

    There are really two choices moving forward. We will either end up with FTTH providers with government granted monopolies similar to telephone and cable, or with "municipal fiber" where government provides the fiber infrastructure (similar to water, sewer and roads). There is no other viable end game. In that sense Google is a play in the first camp, becoming a monopoly FTTH provider.

    Over time I suspect this will be no better than our current monopoly providers. Eventually complacency sets in, and the service degrades. There's no long term incentive for a monopoly provider to be cutting edge.

    Unlike water, sewer, and other traditional government services, Government could provide the "pipes" without supplying the "service". Government could operate a Layer 1 or Layer 2 broadband FTTH network, and allow any Layer 3+ provider to connect. Consumers would pay once for the infrastructure (a huge win), and have competition for the service (a huge win). Telephone and cable have no analog. Electricity comes close, where some places let you select the electricity provider; but even there it's fungible asset. Broadband is the only one that provides the layering needed such that the infrastructure can be fully divorced from the service.

    In short, is the Google model better than the current telecom and cable monopolies? Yes. Does it compare with municipal broadband with multiple choices of providers? No, not even close. We should all be demanding much, much more.

  • by Tony Isaac (1301187) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @01:40AM (#43438823) Homepage

    In the Greater Houston area, Comcast just doubled the connection speeds of ALL price levels. And Google isn't even here! Competition is a wonderful thing!

  • by bjwest (14070) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @03:53AM (#43439175)

    This will end up with smaller cities and rural areas subsidizing the lower rates of the large cities that can attract Google Fiber. It will be decades before my little town of ~10,000 will get anything near GB internet. Until then, we'll be paying outrageous rates to keep the corporate profits up.

    I admire what Google's trying to do here, but it's going to hurt those of us in the smaller towns for quite some time.

  • Don't want (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @04:15AM (#43439223) Homepage
    Google providing content and the connection is not a good thing. Why should people get dependant on these things that are only going to be called into question when they're called for monopoly abuse which is bound to happen.

    That or it'll all get shut down in a spring cleaning.

    Shame the US can't get broadband from companies that aren't evil.
  • by jimicus (737525) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @04:30AM (#43439253)

    Google have an awkward habit of developing a product, letting users depend on it then yanking it at short notice.

    Granted, that's usually more of a problem with products they give away but even so...

  • by Goody (23843) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @07:28AM (#43439649) Journal
    Google's finally getting around to deploying in a second city. At this rate ISPs should start sweating it in 2030, assuming Google doesn't lose interest in the product and discontinue it before then.
  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @07:55AM (#43439713)

    It's pretty easy to be profitable when you can pick and choose where you deploy your service. Let me know when they start deploying their service in towns with less than 20k people and the phone companies will have something to worry about.

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