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The Mere Promise of Google Fiber Sends Rivals Scrambling 258

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Marguerite Reardon writes at Cnet that within a week of Google's declaration last spring that it planned to build a fiber network in the city of Austin, AT&T announced its own Austin fiber network and in less than a year's time, AT&T and local cable operator Grande Communications have beaten Google to market with their own ultra-high speed services using newly built fiber networks. AT&T maintains it has been planning this fiber upgrade for a long time, and that Google's announcement didn't affect the timing of its network but Rondella Hawkins, the telecommunications and regulatory affairs officer for the city of Austin, said she had never heard about AT&T's plans before Google's news came out. Hawkins was part of the original committee that put together Austin's application to become the first Google Fiber city. 'Our application for Google would have been a good tip-off to the incumbents that we were eager as a community to get fiber built,' says Hawkins. 'But we never heard from them. Until Google announced that it was going to deploy a fiber network in Austin, I was unaware of AT&T's plans to roll out gigabit fiber to the home.' Grande Communications' CEO Matt Murphy admits that without Google in the market, his company wouldn't have moved so aggressively on offering gigabit speeds. It also wouldn't be offering its service at the modest price of $65 a month, considering that the average broadband download speed sold in the US is between 20Mbps and 25Mbps for about $45 to $50 a month.

It's not surprising, then, that in every city in AT&T's 22-state footprint where Google is considering deploying fiber, AT&T also plans to bring GigaPower. That's a total of 14 markets, including Austin, the Triangle region of North Carolina, and Atlanta, home to AT&T's mobility division. While AT&T refuses to acknowledge that its gigabit fiber plans are answering the competitive challenge posed by Google Fiber, others say that Kansas City may have been a wake-up call. 'I think all the providers have learned some valuable lessons from Google's Kansas City deployment,' says Julie Huls, president and CEO of the Austin Technology Council. 'What Google did instead was say, "We're going to build you a Lamborghini, but price it at the same price as a Camry,"' says Blair Levin. 'And that's what's so disruptive about it.'"
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The Mere Promise of Google Fiber Sends Rivals Scrambling

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  • by AmazinglySmooth ( 1668735 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @09:39AM (#46958621)
    So they all announced upgrades here in Austin: Google first, then AT&T Uverse, and now TWC. But. Nothing has really changed. Everyone has announcements, but the coverage areas are so small and nothing has changed. TWC has made the best annoucment that their 300Mbps service will be available all over Austin, but not yet. They have offered some date in the future that I'm sure will be delayed. So competition works, but no one is really being that aggressive.
  • Re:Competition (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @09:59AM (#46958809)

    Since "Everywhere they go" is only the most high density neighborhoods in the biggest cities in the country where there are already dozens of ISPs, I doubt it's going to have anywhere near the effect you think it will. Googles serving a few thousand homes out of over a 1/4 of a billion people.

    The one thing Google might do that they've done in other industries is push innovation. ISPs have been pretty strangled by companies like Cisco. If Google can open up the networking hardware market with open source designs it would do a lot to make broadband easier to deploy. I don't know if that's what they're up to or not, but it's the only way they're really going to affect the national market in any real way. Provided they don't outright buy a major ISP, which isn't out of the question.

  • Re:Monopolies? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by VGPowerlord ( 621254 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @10:27AM (#46959057)

    Government created Microsoft?

    Created Microsoft, no.

    From what I've heard (I think the source was Cringely's Accidental Empires / Triumph of the Nerds), the US government mandated that IBM couldn't create its own chips or operating system for its upcoming line of personal computers due to its monopoly position in the mainframe/minicomputer market.

    So, IBM went to this company named "Intel" and licensed their 8088 and 8086 processors for use in it.

    IBM also went to Microsoft and licensed this product called "DOS" as their operating system... which Microsoft in turn purchased from Seattle Computer Products.

    So, while the government didn't create Microsoft, they created the Wintel monopoly that existed for 20ish years prior to the rise of smartphones.

Loose bits sink chips.