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Google Fiber: Why Traditional ISPs Are Officially On Notice

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the bulldoze-away dept.

Google 408

MojoKid writes "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. 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, with Time Warner Cable cutting prices and boosting speeds for users in Kansas City in a desperate attempt to keep them, surely other 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 legacy 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 really capable of."

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Oy. (3, Insightful)

greenguy (162630) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438181)

These are our choices: stick with a variety of crappy ISPs, or consolidate on one that's pretty decent, but whose business model consists of stripping us of our privacy and funneling our Internet experience through its pipes.

This is not the 21st century I was told to expect.

Re:Oy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438225)

What industry offers consumers a perfect combination of freedom of choice and customer service? You have to remember these companies are in the business for their own benefit, not yours. Be happy about a modest step forward and having an option, and use your precious dollars to send them a message and steer them towards the direction you want them to go. If you take Google up on their offer and use encryption, VPNs, etc, you are at least on your way to the utopia you naively yearn for.

Re:Oy. (5, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438399)

What industry offers consumers a perfect combination of freedom of choice and customer service?

Pretty much any that doesn't involve government-enforced monopolies. Just imagine how much worse buying gasoline would be if certain companies purchased rights to supply all gasoline to individual cities, locking out competition.

Re:Oy. (4, Insightful)

gagol (583737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438449)

This! Now Google, please run a trial somewhere in Canada, in the eastern part if possible. Our broadband choices are real crappy.

Re:Oy. (4, Insightful)

cjsm (804001) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438687)

Pretty much any that doesn't involve government-enforced monopolies. Just imagine how much worse buying gasoline would be if certain companies purchased rights to supply all gasoline to individual cities, locking out competition.

I agree with this, and I'd like that add the cause of this problem isn't just governments being corrupt, it's the businessmen and corporations corrupting governments.

Re:Oy. (0)

ButchDeLoria (2772751) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438237)

This is the future you chose. You could have stopped this, why didn't you listen? We're in the belly of a machine, and the machine is bleeding to death.

Re:Oy. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438241)

You say that like the current variety of crappy ISPs don't already strip us of our privacy and funnel our internet experience through its pipes.

Re:Oy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438397)

I purchase from an ISP and not a cable/DSL provider for just this reason. The speeds are slower, but the quality is better. ATT offends me. Comcast/Xfinity offends me. My ISP uses both to route traffic, but I'm not willing to directly pay sleaze.

Re:Oy. (2)

cbhacking (979169) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438243)

What I'm hoping for are some other upstart competitiors to Google Fiber. Here in Seattle we have (or rather, should soon have) http://gigabitseattle.com/ [gigabitseattle.com] which looks to be similar service to Google Fiber but without the Google part. I don't want Google to become the next 800lb gorilla (or Comcast) of ISPs, I just want
A) something better than the current sorry state of ISP options
B) an end to ISP giants of *any* sort
C) some actual competition in this space.

Right now, at least in the Seattle area, we *almost* have C, though Comcast is the definite giant. But if Google Fiber (or Gigabit Seattle) crushes Comcast and Centurylink and Clear and Frontier, we might get A but only at the cost of making B and C much worse for at least the local market.

Re:Oy. (3, Informative)

soundguy (415780) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438425)

They aren't going to "crush" Comcast and Frontier. My FIOS fiber is already capable of 1 gb, but the interface on the side of the house says it's only good for about 250 mbps. They'd just need to change that and add some new stuff at the head end. I'm currently paying for 30/30, but I can see them offering 100 for the same price if Google starts sniffing around. Comcast is already offering 100 mb in some markets and they can probably steal more bandwidth from their cable TV spectrum to ramp up to a gig if it really becomes necessary. Coax has a lot of room in it as long as it's in good physical shape.

Remember that "Seattle" (including the suburbs) is about 100 miles long and 50 miles wide. Comcast covers nearly all of that. It took Verizon (who recently sold their local plant to Frontier) about 10 years to connect a few small areas in the 'burbs. It would be decades before Google could cover the whole thing. Comcast only has to beef up the areas that Google entered and that probably wouldn't include the FIOS areas. Remember that even though per capital income is pretty high here, the customer density is pretty low compared to the major metropolitan areas like NYC, LAX, etc. I think the whole region still only has about 2 million people. Google might do the East side just to piss off Microsoft though :-)

Re:Oy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438251)

it fits well enough with the cyberpunk dystopian vision of the future

Re:Oy. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438253)

Read more Orwell and less Asimov. It will correct your perspective. Remember, your computer is a telescreen.

Re:Oy. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438257)

I'm pretty sure that Google is better in every single respect than the traditional ISP. I'm pretty sure none of them protect your privacy and in fact do the shitty DNS ad serving for unknown domains which Google does not do. Google is much closer to an ideal provider than anything else out there.

Re:Oy. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438273)

You don't think your own isp mines the hell out of any data they can get about you in order to sell it to someone else? You're delusional.

At least google is pretty up front about what they are doing.

I'll drop comcast sooooo fast if google ever comes here. Just on price alone it blows the fuck out of comcast. Not to mention comcast being incompetent and clueless most of the time when you need service... And the price keeps going up but the quality does not. AND the invisible cap to our limited unlimited connection. AND all the other bullshit.

Nobody would ever CHOOSE to use comcast if they had some real choices available. And google is a real choice in two places now. Lets hope they bring it to everyone.

If i was a ceo of one of these large monopolies... I'd be really worried.. People are cutting their cable for tv in droves.. Soon they'll be cutting it for their connection too. Just because we're all so very very sick of their bullshit and tired of them beyond belief.

Re:Oy. (2, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438289)

Then don't use Google services. Use their internet connection only.

They don't actually look at your internet traffic, at least, they don't claim to. Maybe they are lying, but as with any internet service, if you care about privacy you better encrypt that stuff.

Re:Oy. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438313)

Does Google Fiber monitor, throttle, filter or block traffic?

Re:Oy. (2)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438315)

There is no such thing as privacy for a time now. And Google is not even the major responsible for that. Thinking otherwise is an illusion.

Re:Oy. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438701)

There is no such thing as privacy for a time now. And Google is not even the major responsible for that. Thinking otherwise is an illusion.

I dunno. $40 buys VPN service for a year from a company that at least says they don't snoop or keep records. Use a browser that blocks cookies/scripts and a few other precautions, and the online part of privacy is attainable. That leaves the rest of your life, of course, it's hard to wear your Guy Fawkes mask everywhere.

Re:Oy. (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438361)

This is not the 21st century I was told to expect.

Most scifi is rather depressing. I would have figured better than the 21st century you were told to expect by most.

Re:Oy. (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438469)

Why am I not living in the leisure society and own a flying car? Economics have a hard time catching up with sci-fi apparently. And few people with real money dont want to let go of it for the benefits of the many. News at 11.

Re:Oy. (2)

bored (40072) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438435)

tick with a variety of crappy ISPs, or consolidate on one that's pretty decent, but whose business model consists of stripping us of our privacy and funneling our Internet experience through its pipes.

I'm not sure that google is any worse than the alternatives in this regard. TW/at&t/etc are actively watching everything you do just incase you happen to download something they don't think you should have.

Its not much of a stretch to see summary information recorded for long periods of time. Wouldn't surprise me if they have DNS lookup, lists of all outbound IPs you hit, amount of data transferred to each IP, etc stored for "law enforcement" purposes. Heck they can probably skim off your google/bing/etc searches pretty easy if your not using ssl to report to the *** agencies.

Re:Oy. (1)

Eloking (877834) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438457)

Hmm yeah, like all the ISP (and most corporation while we're at it) doesn't already take your personals info.

Google isn't stripping us more of our piracy than others, they are just better at using those info. And since they are mostly used for targeted advertising, I honestly don't mind more boobs in my ads than Viagra.

Re:Oy. (1)

mikeiver1 (1630021) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438467)

But here it is, they are a business and it is centered around selling metrics and adds. This has been going on for some time now, like just about as long as the internet has been available to the wide public. The way I see it is this. The incumbent providers now are in a race to not only role modern service for the last mile but to provide something that at least approaches the speeds that Google is going to offer. The customer has been at the mercy of the one, or if you are lucky two, provider/s and the shitty packaging they grace us with. Google knows that to get us on their service they have a guaranteed long term revenue stream based not only on the monthly service fees but the secondary and tertiary streams of advertising and user data mining. I suspect that this is going to be very lucrative indeed. The cable, satellite, and phone companies have been playing with kid gloves between each other to maintain the very high profits they all enjoy. With Google coming in the gloves are likely to come off. Problem is that the incumbents are fat a lethargic, short sighted group with myopic vision. the future is looking bright if you ask me and I will be happy to see them have to actually care about the customer or loose them for good

Re:Oy. (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438473)

These are our choices: stick with a variety of crappy ISPs, or consolidate on one that's pretty decent, but whose business model consists of stripping us of our privacy and funneling our Internet experience through its pipes.

This is not the 21st century I was told to expect.

If you think that you are getting privacy from your other ISPs, I have a bridge to sell you. At best, the incumbents might be sufficiently lazy and incompetent that their ability to violate your privacy is limited by sheer inertia; but I wouldn't bet on it, and I certainly wouldn't bet on anything better than that...

Re:stripping us of our privacy (4, Insightful)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438549)

Lemme try reframing the REALLY sticky question:

Which would you rather have, the ISP whose business model includes Six Strikes programs in league with the Govt, or Google that just might not, but at the cost of stripping your privacy?

Re:Oy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438565)

whose business model consists of stripping us of our privacy and funneling our Internet experience through its pipes.

Do you use Windows? If you do, your choice of ISP is moot - your privacy has already flown

go away at&t (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438183)

Cant come soon enough

Re:go away at&t (1)

durdur (252098) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438335)

I ditched AT&T DSL a while back. It was both slow and unreliable. Comcast is much faster but quite pricey: they have all sorts of come-on deals where the price is low at first, but they will jack it up eventually. I'd sure like to see them both have some more serious competition.

Good move by Google, even if... (5, Insightful)

Aryeh Goretsky (129230) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438199)

Hello,

I think continuing the rollout of Google Fiber is a good move by Google, even if it does not extend to all locations, it forces the competition to upgrade in others to prevent the threat of wholesale abandonment if/when it does arrive. Having a broadband connection connection changes not just the amount of your Internet usage, but what you use the Internet for.

I remember switching from dial-up to cable Internet access with a single-digit megabit speed back in the mid-1990s, and it opened up a whole new world of activities for me. Instead of buying retail packaged software, I could purchase and download it from the author's site. Starting a download of a video and waiting for it to complete became video streaming with services like YouTube.

I really have no idea what sort of change a gigabit Internet connection will bring, but it's just as likely to open up all sorts of new services for consumers and opportunities for revenue for software developers and content providers that were unimaginable a few years ago.

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky

PSA:Evil-ToS:No Server Hosting Allowed (4, Interesting)

jdogalt (961241) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438341)

I really have no idea what sort of change a gigabit Internet connection will bring, but it's just as likely to open up all sorts of new services for consumers and opportunities for revenue for software developers and content providers that were unimaginable a few years ago.

This is what I was really hoping, but sadly discovered that their initial terms of service prohibited all residential customers from hosting any kind of server. While this is not exactly unexpected, I do consider it a violation of FCC-10-201/NetNeutrality's "blocking" prong. Though traditionally that is understood as residential ISPs blocking a residential client from a remote server, I also believe it applies to the symmetric use of IPv6, i.e. remote clients blocked from residential servers. My FCC 2000F complaint (ref#12-C000422224-1) is currently in "Enforcement review" after 7 months of getting bounced to the Kansas Attorney General who just bounced it back to the quite slow to respond FCC.

Anyway, until we can get some sort of residential internet users bill of rights for what they can expect from their bridge to the global information superhighway, I don't think we'll see remotely the advances in new services that we otherwise would.

$0.02...

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3503531&cid=43033891 [slashdot.org]

Re:PSA:Evil-ToS:No Server Hosting Allowed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438453)

I'm sure that once they offer business tier internet service, you'll be able to get that as part of the deal along with static IPs, same-day on-site service, separate tech-support line with technicians that understand networking, etc. By running a server, I suppose you want it to be available 24/7, right? You can't have that without an appropriate service contract. Otherwise you're just some guy running a server for nothing of any real consequence, and Google most likely won't care to enforce the no-server portion of the TOS for you and other residential customers.

Re:PSA:Evil-ToS:No Server Hosting Allowed (1)

bored (40072) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438471)

Yah, good luck with that. I remember back when "no servers" was a policy one or two ISP's had, that was worth little more than the paper it was written on. Now I challenge you to fine a residential ISP that doesn't have it, and even worse a huge majority of them actively enforce it via port blocking. TW in Austin started blocking port 80 back 2000/2001 or so because of some worm that was propagating via some crappy web server everyone was running on windows. At least that was their excuse at the time. Now days, when was the last time you hit a machine you knew was hosted at someones house because it was using one of the dynamic DNS services? Frankly, a big risk with giving people connections capable of hosting their own facebook/pictures/videos is that 1/2 of the famous internet companies go out of business. Nearly everyone has a firewall/router that is completely capable of hosing a personal home page.

Re:PSA:Evil-ToS:No Server Hosting Allowed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438633)

Nearly everyone has a firewall/router that is completely capable of hosing a personal home page.

I can't say that I've ever had a firewall or router capable of this. I feel left out.

Re:PSA:Evil-ToS:No Server Hosting Allowed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438487)

Well shit. What the hell is the point of a hugely fast connection if they're just going to to block the inbound ports that actually make it useful?

Re:Good move by Google, even if... (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438463)

Excuse me for being unimaginative, but if nothing else it will enable 4k television. 20-40 mbits per stream will use up plenty of bandwidth.

Re:Good move by Google, even if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438571)

Nobody has a 4K TV and I don't think the market is ready for everyone who just got an HDTV to update again.

Hell, I can actually afford a 4K TV, and I wouldn't even buy one if it would get me laid.

In gaming terms, what this could do (2, Informative)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438593)

If you can deal with the hackers via player policing and general anti-hack techniques, gigabit Internet in theory can make action online computer games with hundreds of thousands to millions of people in the same zone via P2P. 200 bytes(position/facing/velocity/action) per 33 ms(reasonable refresh time) = 6k per second, round up to 10k because the player will have actions too. So you're looking at 1,000,000k / 10k people you can feed your information outbound or 100,000 players.

Then if you just apply some basic theory of who isn't in range of who, you simply update those people less frequently. Instead of updating these people every 33ms + your action time, you update them depending on how long it would take them to get in range if they were traveling full speed into you. For a game with sniper rifles, maybe you can't do this. But lets say your game all involved melee weapons, then you're looking at people who aren't in immediate melee range getting updated every 100 ms. And people slightly further away, every 300 ms. And people really far away, several seconds. The distribution of people means most people don't need the fastest update(only the 8 people standing around you would in fact). So for a melee game, you could probably be looking at 1-100 million people in the same zone. At this point, your video card is probably the limiting factor more than your pipes are though I doubt we could organize 100 million people to want to play your video game unless it is super awesome.

It comes down to three things:

Can you really send out 100,000 packet updates or 200 bytes every 33ms? Technically you could, but would the software and hardware really manage it?

Do you have a strong enough anti hack system and hack resistant code that your game can do client side hit detection, and hackers to be banned when they show up?

Finally it is all irrelevant until 1GB/s fiber is everywhere, because for this feat of gaming to occur, you'd need everyone gaming to have 1GB/s fiber!

Here in Chattanooga, we have fiber too (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438201)

Local power company. Freaked out the established interests to the point where Comcast has targeted advertising claiming people have left EPB to go back to them.

The only problem? The people in those commercials sound like such whiny gits, anybody with sense would walk away from Comcast.

Seriously, what kind of relationship is built on a demand to change your cable service?

Strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438217)

All that the dominant ISPs need to do is pretend like they're rolling out faster service.

No way will Google go the full mile and keeping building fiber around the country indefinitely. Their tactic is obviously to motivate the existing ISPs. But the ISPs know full-well the strategy.

So the big question is, who blinks first? Google or the ISPs? And even if the ISPs blink and resume heavy infrastructure investing, how long will it be sustained once Google inevitably pulls out?

Re:Strategy (2)

rescendent (870007) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438261)

It's saber rattling: "You want to double dip on charges, and build a two tier internet"?

"We'll wire everyone up faster and also decide the tiers"

"Really want to go there?"

Re:Strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438443)

Exactly. Spot on. That's what I was getting at.

Google Fiber isn't the beginning of a nationwide fiber upgrade. It's just another round of incremental improvements, driven by a tedious tit-for-tat game over who is going to internalize all these costs.

Not that Kansas City isn't the better for it, or Austin. But [insert city here] better not hold their breathe if they're expecting somebody else to pay for it all.

Re:Strategy (1)

bored (40072) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438533)

But [insert city here] better not hold their breathe if they're expecting somebody else to pay for it all.

Yah, exactly, and if the stories in KC are to be believed the penetration isn't that great anyway. Its just enough to drive down the price of cable/DSL for people who can't get fiber yet. Same thing in Dallas where FIOS was being rolled out. A couple years ago, TW in Dallas would sell you ~4x the bandwidth for 25% less than what they offered customers in Austin.

Basically, its time the people in cities that want better internet connections stand up, and fight the state governments and intrenched interests. Thats part of the reason I had big hopes for WiMax. But then the FCC went and sold it off to the highest bidders rather than creating some kind of open competition where the company willing to offer the best service in each region could put up antennas and provide service without having to negotiate with some big telecom giant. It would have been easy, every 5 years the spectrum becomes available again. Companies bid on the performance/coverage and prices they intend to charge for service. The winner (best speed/coverage, lowest price) has a year to roll the service out.

Then instead of it being a race to give the federal government money and see who can sit on the spectrum the longest, it becomes a race to see who can roll out the best service.

Not really... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438227)

As long as Google is just doing the fiber thing in flyover states, the ISPs aren't going to give a crap. When Google rolls out their fiber somewhere that matters, like NYC or the Bay Area, *THEN* the traditional ISPs will be crapping their pants.

Re:Not really... (2)

radiumsoup (741987) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438279)

Austin is hardly a city to sneeze at... maybe population-wise, sure, but the sheer number of tech companies moving or expanding here is rather eye-opening. The people who make decisions about moving tech companies here are going to have a much easier decision once the GF infrastructure is done. ISPs are largely regional anyway, so the fact that the "flyover" region is the only one starting to get the Google treatment doesn't mean that your region's ISPs aren't paying very close attention, too.

Re:Not really... (1)

Doctor Device (890418) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438337)

I expect they are rolling out fiber in the middle of the country first to sort out the kinks. KC went well, so now they're taking on a bigger project with Austin. I'd speculate on one, maybe two more cities in between the Alleghenies and the Rockies, and then they'll light up one of the big costal cities.

Re:Not really... (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438413)

cities in between the Alleghenies and the Rockies

Have about a nice little burg like Chicago.

Re:Not really... (0)

Frobnicator (565869) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438497)

To quote a recently fired Microsoft games employee: "why would anyonewant to live there?"

Gimmick media story (4, Interesting)

kriston (7886) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438239)

This is a media story engineered to generate goodwill. I would not go so far as to call it a gimmick, but it sounds and feels like one.

FTTH, as it's known, costs between $5,000 and $12,000 per home in the rural market and only exists through subsidy. By comparision, FTTH is between $1,500 and $3,000 in suburban markets which is recouped by annual customer commitments.

The only way these costs are made affordable is through government subsidies. Google is subsidizing these customers in a similar way. As with many subsidies, unless they are bonafide charity/goodwill missions, they are not sustainable. This is okay as long as Google has the goodwill of the overall financial markts, by, e.g., having such a huge P/E ratio that they enjoy enough excess money to spend on things like driverless cars, imaging satellites, and hot tub airplaines.

Speeds comparable to FTTH can be achieved for so much less money by using Fiber to the Neighborhood instead of to the home. While I'm no fan of local cable TV monopolies, they already do this today. The problem many local cable TV companies is that they still carry local channels in analog. If they were to convert to all-digital carriage their existing cable plant could compare with FTTH using DOCSIS 3.x but this dream inexplicably escapes them.

Re:Gimmick media story (1)

ygtai (1330807) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438329)

I don't have the numbers, but how much did it cost when they first got those cables to homes? Inflation adjusted, I doubt today's fiber is any more expensive than coax cables decades ago.

Re:Gimmick media story (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438389)

Probably not, but the coax is a sunk cost. New housing construction would be another story.

Re:Gimmick media story (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438483)

I don't have the numbers, but how much did it cost when they first got those cables to homes?

Don't forget, there are millions of households that get phone and electricity - end of story. If anybody thinks 20-by-20 will happen, they better get the trucks rolling yesterday.

Re:Gimmick media story (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438553)

I don't have the numbers, but how much did it cost when they first got those cables to homes? Inflation adjusted, I doubt today's fiber is any more expensive than coax cables decades ago.

The key phrase is "decades ago". It took decades to get cable to the level it is today. It also took a lot of money, but it wasn't just one company spending all that money. It was spread out among many companies.

If there were several other companies like Google who were willing to roll out fiber, THEN it would put tremendous pressure on the current monopolies. But it's never going to happen. Google will do Austin and maybe 1 or 2 other cities and that will be it. It takes too long and costs too much. Google has a lot of money, but even Google can't afford to run fiber to more than about 1 percent of the U.S.

And the current monopoly ISPs know this.

Re:Gimmick media story (5, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438403)

FTTH is between $1,500 and $3,000 in suburban markets which is recouped by annual customer commitments. The only way these costs are made affordable is through government subsidies.

Pfft, those prices are right in line with the total price [about.com] for a two year contract on an iPhone, which I don't have but lots of people do. I've had Comcast cable Internet (@home initially) for 14 years now, which is somewhat over $15,000 in total. Customers are laying out enough money is being laid out to justify some re-investment now and then.

Re:Gimmick media story (2)

bored (40072) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438587)

Pfft, those prices are right in line with the total price for a two year contract on an iPhone,

Forget the iphone, the cable companies cheap plans are generally in the $100 a month range for "triple play" or whatever they call it in your market. If you actually want fast internet, and some sports channels your probably paying closer to $200 a month.

And the expensive part of the infrastructure (the cable down the street) lasts decades. How many years has the phone company milked the unshielded twisted pair they strung in the middle of the last century, or the cable companies that strung coax in the 70-80's. Whoever installs fiber will probably be able to milk it for the next 20-50 years. Its quite possible the fiber networks that are being installed today will form the backbone of communications for the next millennium. Frankly, the guys running the phone/cable companies need to be strung up by their shareholders. Whoever installs the fiber network of the future will put the phone/cable companies out of business and then proceed to milk the results a long time. The part that shocks me is that the phone/cable companies even install anything other than fiber in new neighborhoods.

Re:Gimmick media story (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438461)

Speeds comparable to FTTH can be achieved for so much less money by using Fiber to the Neighborhood instead of to the home.

Comcast is charging customers (where they don't feel like building) $60K per mile here. A local group doing PON is under $20K.

Re:Gimmick media story (4, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438513)

It is also a gimmick because Austin is a small, compact and well wired. Google is picking the low hanging fruit, not really helping anyone. If they would have gone into any other city, it might have done some good.

Here is what I have seen with broadband. Firms, as much as they say they are running the last mile, are really only doing so in high income high density area, mostly the suburbs. In many ares the best is someone like ATT who already has a presence. In other areas the only hope is cable. Not even ATT is going to spend the money to run a few miles of line and only serve a single small neighborhood.

So it would be pretty to think that Google is trying to put official ISPs on notice, but they are not. If they would they would have chosen another city in texas, run fiber to the neighborhoods around the central business district, and completely obliterated cable and ATT, and provided high speed to some people who could really use it. Instead they chose a safe place with a safe population that would return a high profit on relatively little investment. Even if many use the free service, the city is dense enough so that they will have many customers for each mile of fiber run.

Re:Gimmick media story (1)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438663)

The problem is not a *technical* problem - its a motivation problem.

The biggest problem is the lack of competition in almost all markets.

Providers have no motivation to provide better service, if they know that their customers either have no choice, or very limited choices.

The LUCKY people can choose between crappy overpriced DSL from the local telco monopoly, or crappy overpriced cable from that local monopoly. (Sometimes with a monthly cap, sometimes not)

Wireless (fixed and cellular) and satellite are even worse in comparison. High upfront costs, crappy service, and monthly transfer caps in pretty much all cases.

They know they've got you over a barrel, so they just keep taking your money and shining you on.

I would drop $300 for free 5Mbps is a *heartbeat*. I would *seriously* consider their higher tier offerings.

DC Lobbyists are burning the midnight oil (3, Insightful)

schwit1 (797399) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438269)

The ISP oligopoly is not going to sit still. They will get laws passed that put impediments in the way of Google.

Re:DC Lobbyists are burning the midnight oil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438643)

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/06/south-carolina-passes-bill-against-municipal-broadband/

Re:DC Lobbyists are burning the midnight oil (3, Insightful)

Secret Agent Man (915574) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438657)

And the beautiful thing is that Google has the assets to fight back.

Gigabit connection (5, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438271)

1 Gigabit connection for $70 a month?

I understand why we don't get this on average across the US, because population density is low. But why don't we get it in the Bay Area? We have high population density, and surely there is demand. What is wrong with California?

Re:Gigabit connection (1)

ygtai (1330807) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438317)

Population in the Bay Area is not that dense, even in San Francisco. The only really dense city in world standard in the US is probably NYC.

Re:Gigabit connection (1)

Shados (741919) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438367)

It may not be dense in the Tokyo sense, but its dense but its probably dense enough to get real internet going by an order of magnitude or two.

Re:Gigabit connection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438555)

That's nonsense. San Francisco is quite dense, comparable to Hong Kong. It's about five times as dense as Austin, which is the city in question, for chrissake.

The Bay Area as a whole is about 1/3 as dense as Austin, but that's only because of the inclusion of large chunks of uninhabited/uninhabitable land. And before you argue that such land counts (why should it - there is no need to run fiber where there are NO people), consider that if we count that type of land, then Tokyo is actually LESS dense than the city of San Francisco.

Re:Gigabit connection (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438409)

\The only really dense city in world standard in the US is probably NYC.

And oh boy, are they DENSE. Thicker than two short planks.

Re:Gigabit connection (3, Interesting)

AmazinglySmooth (1668735) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438343)

If you have to ask... Actually, the big benefit in Austin is the city owned utility. It will make it easier to procure right-of-way.

Re:Gigabit connection (4, Interesting)

jbolden (176878) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438377)

What Google and Verizon have said is that their costs are high due to regulation and hurdles. It is to complex to navigate the CA agencies. There is no one they can just "do business with" but rather dozens of agencies all of which have to be passed through. What's wrong with California is you don't have political machines in CA.

I may be most libertarian but... (4, Interesting)

BlueCoder (223005) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438287)

I think states and cities should be rolling out their own fiber. Sort of like building roads. And then subsidize installation for last mile fiber for any homeowner that can afford $1000. They don't need to install the network equipment but they can or they can lease the lines to businesses. The state could fund a redundant backbone network that the cities could trunk into. Just design the lines to be replaced every 30 years.

Cites could then individually choose to offer "free" internet. Of course that would mean they would just subcontract out to a business to provide the network equipment and service. Cities pay for these sorts of things through property taxes.

  I may be libertarian but I classify this as necessary infrastructure that will benefit the vast majority. Everything else is just more expensive.

Re:I may be most libertarian but... (1)

radiumsoup (741987) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438307)

I've said for a while now that fiber to the home will become a utility eventually, and just like the power companies all have different generation points, distribution points, and delivery points, same will go with fiber. (DSL is already sorta like this, anyway, with the Bell system usually only providing the last mile connectivity for the other DSL providers in the area.)

Re:I may be most libertarian but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438407)

> I think states and cities should be rolling out their own fiber.

Why do you want the government to be your ISP? I am I correct in my reading? This seems like a lousy situation to me.

Re:I may be most libertarian but... (2)

radiumsoup (741987) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438455)

no, I think he's saying that the city should put up the utility right-of-ways and infrastructure, and let private industry handle the actual delivery of services. Like how roads are built by the city, but your garbage collector isn't run by the city. (Mine isn't, anyway... I suppose YMMV on that.)

Put another way: Austin's power company (delivery portion) is city-owned, and therefore the permits for leasing right-of-way on the poles is an easy road to traverse with only a single agency to deal with. You can still buy your power from any generation provider, but only Austin Energy is going to deliver it on the "last mile", since they own the poles.

Re:I may be most libertarian but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438577)

Thanks for clarifying this for me

Re:I may be most libertarian but... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438445)

Just design the lines to be replaced every 30 years.

I think you'd probably want them to be replaced more often than that. At least, over the past 30 years you'd want them replaced more often than that. Can you imagine being stuck on 'high speed' internet from 20 years ago?

fiber? you know what that is right? (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438689)

Plastic casings underground should last forever until disturbed.
Glass cables can handle decades - they'd maybe add some more in 30 years. The cables should last longer than that. The network gear on the ends needs upgrading but the glass doesn't need to be changed - you going to find something faster than light in a glass fiber?

What changes are the devices and their use of light over the glass. Maybe diameter or material changes at some point to allow more or other kinds of light... but the speed is the same, the bandwidth might change but the old cables still work just fine on the new gear.

Re:I may be most libertarian but... (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438451)

I think states and cities should be rolling out their own fiber. Sort of like building roads. And then subsidize installation ... Cites could then individually choose to offer "free" internet. ... Cities pay for these sorts of things through property taxes. ... I may be libertarian but I classify this as necessary infrastructure that will benefit the vast majority.

Considering your plan, you are definitely not a libertarian. Even this statist pinko thinks it's going too far. What would be reasonable is a municipally owned utility, but it would have to pay for itself through subscription fees. Even though I'd take advantage of it, I'd go ballistic if this were paid for with my property taxes.

Re:I may be most libertarian but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438617)

Seriously?
This is what you would go ballistic over?
Must be fun hanging out with someone who explodes into anger at the drop of a hat.

Re:I may be most libertarian but... (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438507)

But socialism......

Re:I may be most libertarian but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438673)

GP's solution is basically for the city to have the internet equivalent of city-owned roads. The trucks that deliver you your packages from Amazon aren't owned by the city, but they use the city roads.

Even at the height of McCarthyism that wasn't considered socialism, even though it is technically socializing something.

Re:I may be most libertarian but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438521)

The most questionable bit of Google being your ISP is privacy concerns. Your ISP sees every bit coming to your home and leaving it.

Google already has tentacles everywhere. I'm happy to use Google for my search needs and have purchased goods through their search ads, but I won't sign up with them (and that includes Youtube) because I want Google to stay in its corner. Evasion is getting difficult, though, with most smartphones being Google. If Google is your Internet pipe, it's cave or Google. I wouldn't like to face that choice.

That's when the government will have to blow the whistle. Even as a heavily regulated utility company the government couldn't really prevent Google from looking at the bits flowing through their hardware, and Google couldn't resist the temptation for long.

Re:I may be most libertarian but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438567)

If your ISP is not Google, it would be another to be wary of. Google spends a lot of money fighting for user privacy, other companies hand it over and charge a fee. They've spent a ton of money on lawyers to argue over privacy in favor of the user - when they don't have to per say and other companies, as mentioned... don't ask any questions, hand it over, and charge a fee.

I'm not saying Google could do no wrong and we need to keep any group with access to such power in check but...

If Google was my ISP I can't quite think of a better 'big' company to service that need, in my opinion. Thanks.

Yeah, Right. I'll Believe It When.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438305)

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is no longer saying "C'mon Google, we're RIGHT HERE! Okay, fine, if you're going to go give sweet fiber lovin' to Kansas City and not right in your own back yard, we'll just invite Gigabit over for the evening. How ya like that, huh?"

Please, Google, please put my ISP on notice by actually showing up with some fiber. Please. Until I'm writing you a check for $300 for a scheduled install date though, it's nothing but elephant talk.

Re:Yeah, Right. I'll Believe It When..http://tech. (1)

pcjunky (517872) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438545)

With this pace of rollout it would take a century to get this here in SW Florida. I am not holding my breath.

Wake-up call (2)

Vrallis (33290) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438323)

Basically it's a big "fuck you" to the incumbent ISPs and a wake-up call to the public as to how badly we're being screwed by those ISPs. Data caps, incredible markups for marginal speed increases, etc. Google is proving those are all bullshit and still profitable.

Re:Wake-up call (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438491)

If those companies had been acting at all, oh I dunno, *in competition* and giving us reasonable deals that still saw them making a profit, instead of effectively if not literally conspiring to overcharge us at every turn because they have an effective monopoly, then Google would be just one more player. Since they have been screwing us for so long their business practices assume that they will continue to do so, let em suffer.

I just hope that Google makes up here to Canada, because most of our network belongs to just 2 corporations and they can't even spell competition.

Re:Wake-up call (2)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438503)

This reminds me of what happened with Gmail back when it was first introduced. It's hard to remember how big of a deal it was that Gmail was offering 1GB of storage when it launched, since 1GB is seen as paltry now, but it was a far cry from the likes of 20MB and 50MB being offered by its biggest competitors at the time, and it brought about a big change in terms of what users came to expect.

Even though this is far more expensive and far more difficult, I'm hoping it can bring about similar changes nationwide.

This is awesome. Go Google. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438333)

All the companies that have traditionally been in the business of delivering content to people's homes (basically TV and Internet) should be afraid.

Unlike pretty much all of these companies (NBC, Comcast, TimeWarner, AT&T, etc...), Google's business model isn't threatened by you using the Internet. Google isn't going to impose limits on how much internet you can use. Google isn't going to cut you off if you exceed some arbitrary and undefined limit. Google wants you to use the internet as much as possible.

I think a lot of why broadband access in the US sucks is because the providers (Comcast, TW, AT&T, etc.) are in bed with or part of the same corporate hierarchy that contains the content producers for TV, movies, etc. and rather than figure out how to deliver content via the internet, these greedy fucks want to restrict it.

I mean think about it. If you live in a city in the US, there's no *technical* reason that you can't have 100 megabit/sec up and down to your apartment. But if everyone had something like that then people would rapidly realize that paying over $100/month for cable TV is bullshit (where does that money go? Advertisers pay to have their ads shown, why should you pay to view them???). If everyone had 100mbit, people would realize that distributing content peer to peer is actually a very good idea (you can call it piracy if you want). Yet we don't have that, because the providers know that if you're moving terabyte-levels of traffic around, you are probably stealing their content.

I'm not as concerned about the privacy thing, since overseas VPNs are cheap and fast enough to hide any/all traffic from your ISP.

Re:This is awesome. Go Google. (1)

bored (40072) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438599)

I mean think about it. If you live in a city in the US, there's no *technical* reason that you can't have 100 megabit/sec up and down to your apartment.

Yah, exactly, its almost literally flipping a switch with DOCSIS 3, which is pretty much available everywhere today in the cities.

Increasing the digital divide (2)

davidwr (791652) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438347)

Those neighborhoods where demand for high-quality service is "high" will get cheap Internet.

To make up for lost revenue in "Google Fiber" cities, nationwide ISPs will likely scale back infrastructure improvements elsewhere and/or raise prices where they still have effective monopolies/cartels.

They will also be more careful about investing "for the long term" if they know someone like Google can come in at any time and make their investment worth less than they expected it to be.

Re:Increasing the digital divide (2)

bored (40072) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438623)

They will also be more careful about investing "for the long term" if they know someone like Google can come in at any time and make their investment worth less than they expected it to be.

First, google has said they are doing this because the incumbents aren't. Secondly, everyone has costs associated with running the fiber. The first company that gets into the neighborhood is going to be able to command significantly higher margins until the second. Hence they will be able to recupe a larger portion of the investment before they have any real competition. Basic business. The problem is that the incumbents are really happy charging everyone top dollar for services that don't cost them anything to provide and they apparently have some kind of unofficial agreement not to truly compete. Otherwise they would be racing to install the technology with the lowest cost and the largest long term return. Right now that equation's result is "do nothing", cause we are in a local maximum due to the really high margins they command because there isn't any competition.

 

What's the upload bandidth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438369)

Is it the equivalent of a common cable 1mbit up with 30+ down or will they offer decent bandwidth? Personally i'd wish for a 50/50 split, 500mbit up&down instead of 1gbit down with some ridiculous 10mbit or so of upload.

Re:What's the upload bandidth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438499)

Is it the equivalent of a common cable 1mbit up with 30+ down or will they offer decent bandwidth? Personally i'd wish for a 50/50 split, 500mbit up&down instead of 1gbit down with some ridiculous 10mbit or so of upload.

Google Fiber is 1GB symetric .. meaning just fast going up as coming down.

Re:What's the upload bandidth? (1)

Khyber (864651) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438583)

Uh, no. You'd better check the tier list, pal. Google offers asymmetric services (5mbit/1mbit down/up)

Bring it to the UK please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438375)

At the moment we have limited choices of decent internet in the UK.

Unless you are in the middle of london or live next door to the exchange ADSL is useless as our phone networks haven't been upgraded since the victorian era.
We can get cable by Virgin which is copper to the cabinet with world renowned terrible customer service and incomprehensible billing or BT infinity fibre which isn't available in many places outside london.

I'd gladly foot the bill for the installation of fibre from the street to my home for something like 100/50mbit with a sensible monthly fee.

Sigh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438421)

I wish Apple and Google would kiss and make up..

Then, form a new company, a joint venture, dedicated to rolling out "Google" fiber, er, Gapple Fiber... nationwide before 2015.

Apple has the cash, Google has (most of) the fiber...

This would help both companies more than either will ever benefit from this constant pissing contest they've been in these past few years.

Re:Sigh... (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438603)

I wish Apple and Google would kiss and make up..

Then, form a new company, a joint venture, dedicated to rolling out "Google" fiber, er, Gapple Fiber... nationwide before 2015.

Even *IF* this Google/Apple partnership happened, it would take a lot longer than 2015. You would be very. very lucky to see a significant portion of the U.S. served with fiber by 2035.

And that's the problem. The U.S. is a really big place. More importantly, what is the track record of projects (of any kind) that cost a lot of money and take a lot of time? Hint: it's not good. People come and go, priorities change.

Rather than waste time and money chasing the fiber fantasy, we would be better served to work on breaking the current monopoly on broadband service. The current ISPs can deliver speeds that are sufficient for most people, at a reasonable price, using existing infrastructure. But they don't have to because they have no competition. Force the monopoly ISPs to open up their networks and almost over night you will see higher speds, lower prices and no more nonsense like download caps.

An experiment, like Google Reader (1)

blarkon (1712194) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438477)

Consider the following:
  • Google often jumps into things without considering all of the details.
  • If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Google broadband is more likely to end up like Google Reader than it is GMail. I'd like to believe in free donuts and bacon, but I suspect that there are a few things about the economics of running an ISP that the utopians at Mountain View have missed when setting their initial price. Happy to be proven wrong, but Google doesn't have a great track record when it comes to predicting the long term viability of its projects.

Re:An experiment, like Google Reader (1)

hjf (703092) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438651)

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comcast [wikipedia.org]

Revenue Increase US$ 62.570 billion (2012)
Operating income US$ 12.179 billion (2012)
Net income US$ 6.203 billion (2012)

Pretty sure "internet is cheap". It's "consumer" ISPs that charge you ridiculous numbers. Datacenter-side, prices are silly. And if you don't know anything about inter-ISP traffic, don't read up on "peering agreements" because knowing that "big" ISPs interconnect with each other for free (as in $0) will piss you off real bad. That's right: ISPs pass traffic to each other for free, and they charge you for that. This is an obvious extreme simplification, but the point is: data is free, the only "costs" the larger ISPs have are capital (equipment) and operating (salaries), and I'm pretty sure their biggest spending is in advertising.

Internet ads should be free (0)

MrJones (4691) | about a year and a half ago | (#43438525)

20k ads per month should be free for all, thats freedom. Oh, that will ruin Google's Business? Hey, its the ads freedom, everyone should be able to promote his business in order to have a better life.

Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438531)

Come to brussels :-)

Instead of investing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43438631)

...they have been pocketing all of the cash as profits and NOW they are worried.

Good!

They SHOULD have been making upgrades.

We aren't even in the top 10.
And there isn't a single US city in the top 30 cities.
http://netindex.com/

I hope Google puts them all out of business!

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