Google Fiber: Why Traditional ISPs Are Officially On Notice - HotHardware
Google Fiber: Why Traditional ISPs Are Officially On Notice

Google Fiber: Why Traditional ISPs Are Officially On Notice

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.

Eventually, Kansas City was the lucky locale chosen for the Google Fiber launch, and by all accounts things are going swimmingly, and Google is slowly but surely rolling out service to nearby areas, including Mission Woods, Westwood, and Westwood Hills. This week, Google announced that Austin, Texas was the next area to get the Google Fiber treatment.


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--indeed, Time Warner Cable allegedly cut prices and boosted speeds for some users in Kansas City in a desperate attempt to keep them as customers--surely 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 piddly 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 capable of, and the world is craving bandwidth.

For example, video chat is emerging as a powerful means of communication, be it between relatives living on separate coasts, business associates working on a project in different locations, or doctors diagnosing patients from across the world. Currently, even the best connections are relatively low-res, with terrible latency and frequent drops or lags. Imagine a world where all of the above is streamed over a gigabit connection capable of clear and consistent sound and images that can also handle pertinent content such as audio or video streams; it’s a game changer, and that’s just a single use case. Imagine what could be developed in the fields of scientific research, medicine, and education.

KU School of Medicine

More exciting is the fact that there are use cases nobody has thought of yet, because Internet speeds have been so a tight bottleneck. This is akin to the shift from from horse and buggy to the automobile; once cars became affordable for most Americans, the whole country changed dramatically.

A byproduct of Google Fiber invading previously secured space is that ISPs have to adapt their current services to survive. There are two ways that will happen; one is that they’ll have to deeply slash prices on lower tiers of Internet service (and probably bundle some value-adds, to boot), which will be a boon for customers who currently can’t afford broadband. The other is that the competition will have to roll out commensurate services (i.e., gigabit Internet). In fact, that’s already happening; AT&T just announced that it too is planning to build a gigabit fiber network in Austin.

Another reason ISPs have to fear Google Fiber is that Google is a company rolling in money from a wide variety of sources, which means that it can invest heavily in new infrastructure without risking the farm, so to speak. Further, unlike Search, which is a free service that Google has to pay for with ads, the company is charging money for (most of) its Google Fiber services; it’s a self-sustaining business, which should allow Google to build out faster without investing as much money generated from other sources.

Google Fiber package
Complete Google Fiber package

Yes, continued rollouts of Google Fiber will take time--a lot of time--and naysayers will point out that building all that infrastructure is a near impossibility, but Google is really good at doing impossible things to scale. For example, this is a company that is busily mapping the entire world, one picture and satellite image at a time.

For that matter, people said the same thing about the railroads. And electrical grids. And telephone lines. And so on. ISPs better get cracking on some competitive solutions quickly, or they’ll just be another dot in the history of Internet communications.
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I also sincerely question companies such as AT&T who are doing this now after another massive entity has started. They particularly should be on the forefront of this especially in larger metropolitan areas and already have something in place, not be considering it in an area Google has already announced will be done by them. To cap that off I would pay $300.00 for direct Fiber to home and then ever after free internet at this amount of bandwidth any day as a consumer not to mention some TV thrown in as a bonus. Hell I would do it even if I had a monthly bill after a period of time and do it without question as well!

So considering this as a communications Giant is ridiculous think about how much success they would have if Uverse was Fiber to home rather than a Fiber line from a main street over copper to a residence in circumference as it is now. They would own the market again without question but there considering it.

Yeah I agree they would have the market if they would run fiber to the house. They laid copper lines a long time ago and continue to do maintenance on them. Even though they are worth billions, it would cost billions and billions to run fiber to the homes instead of what they have been getting away with is just a massive truck line to neighborhoods. I'm not defending them really other than just putting it out there. Verizon has completely stopped expanding due to running out of money to lay a 100% fiber network since they went into cities and towns where everything went underground. New neighborhoods are easy to lay fiber underground but old neighborhoods, old buildings, ect are alot harder to do anything in.Google understands this problem and it will be curious to see when they try their hand in an area is that is all underground to see what the cost will be vs on the poles.

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Hopefully this will make all the ISP smarten the heck up, and start realizing that they are charging far too much for far too little.

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Google is going to win big with this on both the consumer and commercial level!

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