Google Fiber must succeed

Let's all hope Google's fast, free Internet service spreads beyond Kansas City -- and challenges the overly complacent ISPs

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As you might expect, Google is not just dropping fiber all over the place and hoping people buy it. It's doing this by encouraging people in the planned service areas to recruit their neighbors into the program. Once a "fiberhood" has enough pre-orders, the Google Fiber trucks will presumably roll in and light it up.

It's a great plan for a variety of reasons. First, it allows Google to roll fiber only where it'll have a significant customer base. Second, it's virtually guaranteed that each fiberhood will have at least one or two alpha-geek types who will move heaven and Earth to get this service, evangelizing Google Fiber to their neighbors until they've reached the goal. I firmly believe that the number of private citizens marching around their neighborhoods with pamphlets containing information about Google Fiber will outnumber the Jehovah's Witnesses five to one.

A forecast for Google Fiber

It remains to be seen how this service performs, how well the hardware functions, and how smoothly the transition goes, but the fact this is moving forward and will shortly become a reality had better ring some bells with the major ISPs. Not only is Google promising speeds 100 times faster than median broadband in the area, it's doing so at an amazingly competitive price and even offering free service. That's the definition of a better mousetrap.

It stands to reason that Google would want to serve businesses as well, but there's no information or firm discussion of commercial fiber service, as far as I can tell. If Google can offer the same level of service with fixed subnet addressing and SLAs, it'll get business-class customers by the truckload -- baby steps, I suppose.

Granted, this project is currently limited to residential customers in one area in the United States, but Google owns a massive amount of dark fiber, waiting to be used. Should this pilot go as planned, I'm certain Google will put in place similar plans in other cities and states. Again, those bells had better be ringing long and loud at Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, and Time Warner.

In an ideal world, we won't have to rely on Google to ride into our town to free us from the shackles of our incumbent ISPs. The fact that Google can do this might provide the shakedown the industry desperately needs. Anything that breeds some form of real competition among carriers can only bring faster service, better pricing, and banishment of this nonsense talk about tiering and metering.

There you have the broadband disparity in a nutshell: At the same time that some ISPs are "experimenting" with data caps, metered Internet access, and tiering plans, Google is "experimenting" with absurdly fast access with no restrictions and offering it for free. It's not hard to see who wins that battle.

This story, "Google Fiber must succeed," was originally published at Read more of Paul Venezia's The Deep End blog at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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