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Google Communications Wireless Networking

Google Fiber Sheds Workers As It Looks to a Wireless Future (engadget.com) 108

Mariella Moon, writing for Engadget: Alphabet is making some huge changes to steer Google Fiber in a new, more wireless direction. According to Wired, the corporation has reassigned hundreds of Fiber employees to other parts of the company and those who remained will mostly work in the field. It has also hired broadband veteran Greg McCray as the new CEO for Access, the division that runs Google Fiber. These changes don't exactly come out of left field: back in October, Google announced that it's pausing the high-speed internet's expansion to new markets and that it's firing nine percent of the service's staff. Wired says running fiber optic cables into people's homes has become too expensive for the company. A Recode report last year says it costs Mountain View $1 billion to bring Fiber to a new market.
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Google Fiber Sheds Workers As It Looks to a Wireless Future

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  • Expensive (Score:3, Funny)

    by nsuccorso ( 41169 ) on Thursday February 16, 2017 @05:24PM (#53882015)
    Wired says running fiber optic cables into people's homes has become too expensive for the company.

    Inconceivable!

    • Verizon isn't making enough money with FIOS to repair expected to fail fibers in the future... looks like that network won't be rebuilt. Comcast/Xfinity is built on fiber to the neighborhood, then coax to each home and port.

      Coax is slower but lasts longer, but still fast enough to offer a gigabit per second to each customer.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The head of Verizon is an ex Verizon Wireless CEO. He thinks everything should be wireless. They went from build it everywhere to 'let it rot and let the old pots rot too'. They ripped off the states of NJ and NY to buy out VZW from vodaphone.

        They are now considering buying comcast for its firber build out because they screwed up.

        • They are now considering buying comcast for its firber build out because they screwed up.

          Nope. They're actually thinking about buying Charter, not Comcast.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        Verizon isn't making enough money with FIOS to repair expected to fail fibers in the future... looks like that network won't be rebuilt. Comcast/Xfinity is built on fiber to the neighborhood, then coax to each home and port. Coax is slower but lasts longer, but still fast enough to offer a gigabit per second to each customer.

        Underground fiber will last just as long as underground coax, least that's the prediction. The fiberoptic cable itself is even more inert than copper, it'll fail when the surrounding plastic fails and water gets in for freeze/thaw cycles. No idea about above ground, almost never use it here since you can lay it 30cm below the surface with the simplest of cable diggers and it'll be way more protected and still not deeper than that you can easily reach it with a shovel. Fiber to the home is now the dominant b

        • Fiber has the problem of becoming too bright with internal light after too much use. This causes trunk lines to fail. Comcast has the same problem too, but it is more profitable.

      • What version of DOCSIS are you dealing with? Any what number of customers on a CMTS port? Coax might last longer (citation needed, I don't see coax undersea), but how long to the nodes that are needed every couple hundred feet? The only parts that need electrical power in a PON are the ends.

        10GPON easily beats the highest tiers of DOCSIS specs (giving the benefit of the doubt by using the theoretical numbers) and even that can't provide a gig per customer once it gets reasonably provisioned with customers.

        T

    • by Shatrat ( 855151 )

      There are plenty of companies that can do it and make a profit. It turns out you can't 'disrupt' your way out of hard work, though.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's funny but over a hundred years ago, Bell Telephone was able to wire the entire country with POTS copper lines. This was done decades before most of these same areas had electric service. How come wiring the whole country for POTS was not considered "expensive"?

      And fiber cable is far cheaper than copper cable on a cost unit length, not even factoring in the higher bandwidth of fiber.

      • 100 years ago companies were in business to actually build stuff. Sure they wanted to make money, but it was understood that you had to spend money to make money. Today, nobody has any interest in building anything that won't be insanely profitable right away.

        Throwing money away on "app companies" that will never be profitable such as Uber, Snapchat, etc no problem at all. VCs never tire of wasting money on anything that attracts eyeballs, figuring that someday they can somehow monitize it. But building phy

      • How come wiring the whole country for POTS was not considered "expensive"?

        It was. So expensive, in fact, that there was a tax added to each phone bill to subsidize rural phone line expansion. People simply don't consider fiber important enough to go to the same extremes.

  • It has also hired broadband veteran Greg McCray as the new CEO for Access, the division that runs Google Fiber.

    Strange name for a tech company. It reminds me of vb access which was, well...

    • Microsoft Access is a database tool that borrows heavily from VB6, sold as part of some Microsoft Office skus.

      • Microsoft Access is a database tool that borrows heavily from VB6, sold as part of some Microsoft Office skus.

        Microsoft Access is a Database tool that borrows heavily from Microsoft File, which forked into Access and Claris FileMaker. All this was LOOOOOOONG before VB6, whippersnapper!

        • That's the history of the project, I gave you the current state.

          • That's the history of the project, I gave you the current state.

            Since Access came significantly before VB (and especially VB6), I would say your "borrowed" pointer is facing the wrong direction, don'tcha think?

  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Thursday February 16, 2017 @05:46PM (#53882157)
    For speed, security, and reliability, wireless isn't even close to being a replacement for fiber. Our business only uses wireless for fun stuff for our customers. Our real business is over wired connections, and will be for the foreseeable future.
    • Even when I go into valleys in certain spots of an area I can lose the signal on my phone. Cellular towers are line of site transmission. And in the future, if they put a new tall building between the tower and where you live, you might have problems.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      > For speed, security, and reliability, wireless isn't even close to being a replacement for fiber.

      We're talking about carrier-grade point-to-point microwave links used for backhaul and connecting customer sites to the ISP's Internet link. These links use highly-directional antenna that radiate in a single pencil-sized beam. These radios can do 5+Gbps, symmetric (that's 10Gbit full-duplex aggregate) and can be bonded to get even higher speeds. Check it out!

      http://www.cablefree.net/cablefree-millimeter-wa

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Wireless makes for a very viable negotiating tactic when dealing with corrupt obstructive governments paid off by competing incumbent telecoms ie your voters are going to be really pissed off when they get second rate systems and we still get into the market and fibre will now be decades off thanks to you, your many business campaign contributors are going to be really pleased when you screwed all of them just to pay back a favour from one company, literally screwed hundreds of thousands of companies in ord

  • I worked for many years in a secure US government facility operating at the classification of secret and top secret/SCI. Fiber was the only permitted network infrastructure and we spent countless hours chasing down broken fiber tips, and crushed cables. Expertise required to retip fiber was much harder to come by than simply crimping twisted pair cable, which was shielded anyway. Emissions was the reasoning behind using glass to transmit the electrons.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      You mean transmit photons.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Well I spent years as a network tech at a couple of the top government "alphabet" agencies.

      I would rather deal with fiber any day of over copper. Fiber is more rugged in the long term. You can run it under carpet without worry. You can fish it through areas that would be impossible for copper cable

      As far as termination, anyone can learn to terminate fiber in a day. I've done it all--fusion, epoxy polish, crimp. One eight hour day should be enough to train anyone. And if you really did work at a top secur

  • by Zobeid ( 314469 ) on Thursday February 16, 2017 @06:17PM (#53882315)

    Somehow we managed to wire up the whole country with electrical power, and somehow we wired up the whole country with phone lines, and yet laying out fiber is always TOO COSTLY. It can't be done!

    • by crt ( 44106 ) on Thursday February 16, 2017 @07:49PM (#53882835)

      Keep in mind that a big reasons we managed to wire up the whole country with electric, phone, and cable is that we gave those companies local monopolies on delivery of power, telecom, and TV.

      If you were to offer Google a monopoly on Internet access in an area, it would appear profitable VERY quickly.

      • by whit3 ( 318913 )

        Keep in mind that a big reasons we managed to wire up the whole country with electric, phone, and cable is that we gave those companies local monopolies on delivery of power, telecom, and TV.

        Oh no, that DIDN'T get us the results. Rural electrification was always a federal initiative. Local power companies never would have set up a nationwide grid for power, because that would mean opening their market.

        Monopolies always came with regulatory requirements, and when those are enforced, utilities do good

  • by BlueCoder ( 223005 ) on Thursday February 16, 2017 @06:21PM (#53882349)

    They should be counter lobbying states against cable monopolies and allowing cities and regions to lay their own last mile fibre as part of city services. Then any provider can service any customer in the city minus the city's cut to pay off the build-out. I live in Culver City which has a population of 40,000 in 5.2 square miles. Lets say the city goes whole hog and guts all the old infrastructure including the old copper lines. So every service including plain telephone would have to come over fibre. That would mean at least 90% of people would have to sign up. Lets say 4 people per building for 10,000 residential and business buildings. I say $25 per month per building. They would get you a quarter million dollars a month toward paying off fibre layout. That's $3 million a year. For 5 square miles that should be more than completely paid off in 10 years with maintenance fees and upgrades dropping to something like $5 a month. Last mile solved. If they do right with multiple fibre pairs to every building then it should last the next 150 years; longer than the old copper phone lines. Once the cities are built out and paid off I don't see why the state couldn't tack on a $10 fee to provide for rural build out. I'm sure they would do a better job and actually get it done. But I still think rural people should have to outlay at least something like $3000; not including end point equipment. That's way less than the price of a car and actually increases the equity of their home. So forget laying the lines yourself and get lobbying.

  • Google doesn't want to be in the business of providing Internet access, but they saw ISP monopolies and anti-net-neutrality as a threat to their business model. They started an ISP basically to try and improve Comcast and AT&T.

  • Google Fiber's rollout in Nashville has not been smooth and is nowhere near complete, and Google itself will likely never make a profit here. But it did its job for me: AT&T FINALLY enabled last-mile fiber rollout in a lot of neighborhoods near their existing hubs, and now I have gigabit for $70/month; the same price Google would charge me. AT&T so far hasn't been any more reliable as an ISP than Comcast was (less, actually) but once the inevitable initial snags with billing are worked through, I'm

    • Same in longmont, CO.

      I don't have municipal fiber yet, but comcast are offering 300/30 cable for $50/mo and 2000/2000 fiber for $299/mo (and that's actually available). CenturyLink are supposed to be rolling out fiber and I see the trucks but don't know anyone that has it yet. Most likely i'll have the choice of 3 different fiber providers sometime this year (and apparently gigabit cable too).

  • Google Fiber had been running gangbusters a year or two ago, with a nice Fiber Hut constructed in a hurry and drilling crews doing their thing down some major roads.

    But after two years, the Fiber Hut is still dark. The work crews are gone. Nothing is getting drilled or installed or connected. Nobody has service. Which is fine, I guess, as the Google TV package is awful. Comcast's TV packages blow it away. And we are about to get Gigabit-like service from Comcast.

    Really was hoping Google with their

  • Fiber is the best thing you can get. Sure it costs more... it's worth more!

  • If Google can't afford to eat the cost of FTTP, they should charge consumers for the installation cost. I would pay for it. Not having that as an option sucks.
    • The problem is that it depends hugely on where it is and how many other people have it.

      Citywide our city is doing it for a little more than $2k/home. The parts of town on poles will be cheap and it'll cost more in other places where they need to trench, but because the penetration is so high, the cost is low. It also helps that our city run their own power and water so have a lot of existing poles, trenches, boxes and easements that they can leverage.

      We ended up installing it at work in another city and it

  • Another Google project to be asked!

  • They should change the name to Google MESH, and enable Mesh Networking and calls in their cellphones too

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