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Google Fiber Launches In Provo — and Here's What It Feels Like 338

Posted by timothy
from the white-whites-more-vibrant-colors dept.
Velcroman1 writes "I've seen the future. It's called gigabit Internet by Google Fiber, and it just launched in my hometown of Provo, Utah, the second of three scheduled cities to get speeds that are 100 times faster than the rest of America. 'What good is really fast Internet if the content stays the same?' you may ask yourself. I certainly did, before testing the service. Besides, my "high speed" Internet from Comcast seemed fast enough, enabling my household to stream HD videos, load web pages quickly, and connect multiple devices as needed, largely without hiccup. I was wrong. Using gigabit Internet, even in its infancy, opened my eyes to speed and reminded me of why I love the Internet."
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Google Fiber Launches In Provo — and Here's What It Feels Like

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  • by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmytheNO@SPAMjwsmythe.com> on Friday January 24, 2014 @08:00PM (#46062875) Homepage Journal

    What was your throughput like? If they're providing GigE, you still won't see it on a single workstation. Did you measure the uplink speed?

    What was your latency like? You could have GigE, but if it's 1000ms pings, that's going to be worthless for most of this audience.

    Where are they peering? What did your traceroutes look like?

    There are lots of ways we can quantify how good or bad a connection is. You missed the important parts.

  • But... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by The RoboNerd (551256) <robert@@@roberthollingshead...net> on Friday January 24, 2014 @08:03PM (#46062901) Homepage
    All that symmetrical bandwidth + restrictions against running servers. Woot! http://worldofends.com/ [worldofends.com]
  • by Guppy (12314) on Friday January 24, 2014 @08:24PM (#46063065)

    Funny you should mention Net Neutrality, because this is what it's all about. And an example of how farsighted Google is compared to their opposition, always a step ahead in their strategic planning. If Net Neutrality continues to get rolled back, expect Internet companies to get squeezed hard by the big ISPs (I predict Netflix will be the most vulnerable example of this). "Nice Market you got there. Would be a shame if anything happened to it."

    Google is anticipating such a development, and demonstrating to those providers that they are not quite untouchable as they think. They don't need to roll out Google Fiber everywhere (though that would be awesome), just do it enough times to demonstrate to ISPs that they can do it anywhere.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 24, 2014 @08:33PM (#46063105)

    Why "stream" things as Google advertises?

    Because

    Streaming is stupid technology

    For the consumer. For a provider, it's a godsend. Grant access to your material in some obfuscatory wrapper and call it an "app", and now you control all access, assuming you scramble the encryption keys once a week and bake them deep enough into the wrapper when you update. If your connection speed is fast enough that an end user can't tell the difference between it and their hard drive, there goes a good half? three quarters? of the incentive for bored nerds to liberate your content.

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Friday January 24, 2014 @08:36PM (#46063117)

    Sure, but do you really want to live in a country where there are on average 1200 people per square mile, vs the USA where there is on average 84 people per square mile? http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/... [infoplease.com] my source.

    People keep blaming lackluster USA broadband options on density, but when I lived in a USA city with a density of 17,000 people per square mile, my broadband choices were Comcast with up to 15mbit (12mbit was more typical, except for when it was worse or down), or AT&T DSL (not U-Verse) which could offer "up to" 1.5mbit due to my distance from the central office. When you look at my entire metropolitan area [wikipedia.org], it encompasses 7000 square miles (about half the size of The Netherlands) and has a density of 1000 people per square mile.

    So yeah, if I lived in a field in the middle of Nebraska, I probably shouldn't complain when I have limited options, but if I live in a city, why do my poor broadband choices get blamed on population density?

  • by ewhac (5844) on Friday January 24, 2014 @08:49PM (#46063217) Homepage Journal
    15 years ago, nobody "needed" broadband. Dialup was, "good enough."

    Today, try doing anything other than text-only email over 56Kb dialup.

    Broadband uptake enabled a new class of Internet sites and services. Google is betting that history will repeat itself by kicking speeds up by two orders of magnitude. It also has the beneficial side-effect of lighting a fire under AT&T's slothful ass.

    Also keep in mind that GFiber offerings are symmetric. That means you get to upload your photos and videos at 1Gb/sec as well, and not through the 768Kb straw that DSL and cable providers decided was "good enough" for consumer-class Internet.

  • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Friday January 24, 2014 @09:08PM (#46063337) Homepage Journal

    Google Fiber Launches In Provo — and Here's What It Feels Like

    Why all the hate for Google?

    Here in New Hampshire we have to choose between Fairpoint or Comcast.

    Would you like to know what *that* feels like?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 24, 2014 @09:09PM (#46063345)

    First of all Google Internet was not 100 times faster in Provo. Provo has had fiber that could go 1Gbps for almost 10 years now and everything he said he could was being done 10 years ago. The biggest difference is that Google now owns the $40M fiber network that they paid $1 for instead of Provo City. What makes it even better is the citizens still have to pay for the $40M bond that built the network. But wait, there's more. What they didn't tell you is Google is kicking all commercial customers off their network and now government agencies and schools have to pay for the network instead of getting it for free.

    To sum it up, Provo gave up millions of dollars a year in revenue for the opportunity to have Google come to town and charge them for the same Internet that they already had for free while simultaneously offending all business owners by kicking them off the network and sticking them with the bill.

  • by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Friday January 24, 2014 @10:12PM (#46063687)

    Four words: Small children and Disney.

    You have no idea.

  • by Darinbob (1142669) on Friday January 24, 2014 @11:15PM (#46064009)

    Gotta improve the UI too. A 15 year old DVR has a better experience than streaming this stuff. Rewind 5 seconds to catch something that was missed and the streaming video wants to pause and rebuffer.

    Then there's the content: streaming usually won't let you skip past ads, and closed captioning and alternate audio channels are rare even with the big boys of streaming even though these are considered must-have features for traditional media.

  • by Proudrooster (580120) on Friday January 24, 2014 @11:44PM (#46064101) Homepage

    That's because in Korea, Star Craft is a professional sport and latency is not acceptable. When you live in a country where the population takes online video games seriously, there can be no lag.

  • by BLKMGK (34057) <morejunk4me@@@hotmail...com> on Saturday January 25, 2014 @02:21AM (#46064853) Homepage Journal

    What bitrate are those "1080p" videos at? Oh, I thought so.

    Imagine having that 1Gb connection. Imagine that you can't use it all but that you can do anything you want with it. do you think maybe you might sit down and ponder, that you might try to imagine better ways to use it? Cloud backup service is obvious and done. Video is done and being done. Keep going. Just sit and use your imagination and I suspect that you will eventually think of something new that cannot be done now with existing normal bandwidth. Maybe it's something silly, maybe it's something crazy, maybe it turns out to be something life changing.

    THAT is why we need to have bandwidth well over and above what we have now. We need to have enough that people sit down and think up new ways to use, innovate, maybe find a way to save a life or help another. We've done this with CPU and GPU for a long time, disk space too. My first HDD was 40MEG and nearly the size of a shoebox. Suppose way back then someone had spoken as you have and decided that we would never need more and was listened to. We need to bring fuel for dreams and imagination - right now we're WELL behind the curve for that...

  • by cplusplus (782679) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @02:23AM (#46064867) Journal
    Does anyone find it just a little coincidental that this latest Google fiber rollout is only about 20 miles from the NSA's newest datacenter in Bluffdale UT? Lots of bandwidth infrastructure was already in the neighborhood :)
  • by DarwinSurvivor (1752106) on Saturday January 25, 2014 @02:28AM (#46064881)

    First of all, we shouldn't have to rely on offsite hosting, we should be able to do this ourselves. Second of all, some of us like to keep control of our files ourselves, particularly when it comes to banking files, personal photos, tax forms, etc. Third of all, syncing with services like Google Drive can be a P.I.T.A. to set up and can be very disruptive when these services are modified or closed down.

    If we had proper (bi-directional) home internet connections we wouldn't need large storage devices with us and could simply remotely access our files from home whenever we want to listen to music or transfer a report we've been working on for work/school/etc.

  • What they have is governments committed to technological progress instead of telecom profits.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 25, 2014 @03:34AM (#46065081)

    All they have to do is poach the lucrative high-density markets and the ISP's profit margin evaporates. Remember that in the world of shareholder-owned companies, if you miss a quarterly target by even fractions of a cent, your stock tanks.

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