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Google Mulling Wi-Fi For Cities With Google Fiber

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the what-can-we-do-to-make-this-sale-happen? dept.

Networking 39

alphadogg (971356) writes "Google is considering deploying Wi-Fi networks in towns and cities covered by its Google Fiber high-speed Internet service. The disclosure is made in a document Google is circulating to 34 cities that are the next candidates to receive Google Fiber in 2015. Specific details of the Wi-Fi plan are not included in the document, which was seen by IDG News Service, but Google says it will be 'discussing our Wi-Fi plans and related requirements with your city as we move forward with your city during this planning process.'" And while Google's had some experience running large-scale WiFi, and adding WiFi seems a much lower burden than providing fiber to the home, floating an idea (as AT&T did, to accusations of "smokescreen") is not the same as turning the switch to "On."

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More Services (0)

ketomax (2859503) | about 4 months ago | (#46840281)

Google is considering deploying Wi-Fi networks in towns and cities covered by its Google Fiber high-speed Internet service

While they are at it, might as well throw some free Bluetooth & Infrared devices.

Google already has access to wifi ap:s everywhere (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46840379)

Since the Android devices (at least my Nexus 5 did) back up the Wifi passwords to Google by default, the Google could be giving away wifi access all over the world. :)

All part of the plan. (4, Interesting)

MrDoh! (71235) | about 4 months ago | (#46840389)

So all those 'free' connections (well, 300 bucks for life wasn't it?) with their wireless routers provided. They flip that 'on' switch, bathe the entire area with open wifi signals, let Google Voice be used as VOIP, and tell the telcos/wireless carriers to do rude things to themselves in the dirt.

And (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46840525)

And the telcos deserve everything they lose. Monopolistic practices only ensure a greater crash, eventually. I mean, who seriously would ever sign up for AT&T anything? They are the Sony of wireless companies. Comcast still have their hooks into us, but will suffer the same fate.

Re:All part of the plan. (2)

jddeluxe (965655) | about 4 months ago | (#46840605)

I can guarantee you that the Google Fiber Network Box provided to Google Fiber subscribers doesn't have anywhere near the range to be able to do that. Mine's installed against the rear wall of my house, and signal stops being useful past about 30-35 meters (100-115 ft.) away...

Re:All part of the plan. (2)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 4 months ago | (#46841003)

So all those 'free' connections (well, 300 bucks for life wasn't it?) with their wireless routers provided. They flip that 'on' switch, bathe the entire area with open wifi signals, let Google Voice be used as VOIP, and tell the telcos/wireless carriers to do rude things to themselves in the dirt.

You left out the part where once they have eliminated the competition, they jack up the price on everything. Sure, they have the 300 bucks for life, but they only provide new services on their premium connection. Basically, this is the Walmart model combined with the cable model - first enter a market and flood it with cheap product until the competition is forced out, then raise prices (Walmart). Then only provide new services with new plans like the cable company. Basically, you have basic coverage and pay whopping premiums for extras, or you cancel your old plan and get the new stuff bundled in, but no price guarantees.

At least when wireless and telcos mistreat customers, the customer can switch to a different provider.

Re:All part of the plan. (1)

MrLeap (1014911) | about 4 months ago | (#46841607)

Switch to a different provider? Not where I live.

Also, the established players have been colluding in the environment you're describing for over a decade now. If comcast can't survive "the onslaught that is high speed internet at affordable prices" then they're terrible at business.

Re:All part of the plan. (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 4 months ago | (#46842823)

Switch to a different provider? Not where I live.

Also, the established players have been colluding in the environment you're describing for over a decade now. If comcast can't survive "the onslaught that is high speed internet at affordable prices" then they're terrible at business.

For TV, you always can go satellite or an attenna. For internet, there is always DSL, tethering, your own t3, or even satellite. For phones, you, likewise, have multiple options. Providers just want you to think you have no other option than the crap they give you. In reality, there are numerous options.

Re:All part of the plan. (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 4 months ago | (#46844935)

Not all people can go antenna, even out in the boonies.

DSL is even more limited, since you have to be so close to the local phone box... and of course DSL is slower.

(I don't know if I personally am within DSL range, but know that even in cities, people sometimes can't get it. I would switch for cost reasons, as I don't need the speed... At some point.. Currently I'm on a relatively cheap cable bundle.)

Re:All part of the plan. (2)

Xicor (2738029) | about 4 months ago | (#46844405)

google doesnt profit off hardware, or the things they sell... they profit off information. they will likely just make their money by selling your secrets which you intrust to your isp

Re:All part of the plan. (1)

Jason Goatcher (3498937) | about 4 months ago | (#46846613)

It isn't always about money. As rich as the Google CEOs are, it's probably more about power and control. So they'll only jack up their prices if it somehow makes them more powerful.

Re:All part of the plan. (1)

Megane (129182) | about 4 months ago | (#46841087)

I think that's explicitly for seven years. Google is at least not stupid enough to go "for life" with that. After that point my hunch is they will probably keep it going anyhow, but they're not going to paint themselves into a corner.

(300 bucks = Google Fiber install price, if you pay that they will give you free low-speed for a long time, which is clearly to encourage economy of scale so they can get more plant built at the same time)

Dark fiber (1, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | about 4 months ago | (#46840493)

Google doesn't build infrastructure. They take advantage of existing municipal fiber.

Re:Dark fiber (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46840597)

How is that a problem?

Re:Dark fiber (5, Informative)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 4 months ago | (#46840951)

Google sure as hell is building infrastructure here. They are running cable all over the place. Am I missing something in your comment? The only existing infrastructure I see them utilizing are the power line poles where they are hanging it.

Re:Dark fiber (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46841185)

i believe the spot in Utah is taking advantage of existing infrastructure but that's it. As far as i know everywhere else is installing infrastructure (what else is the $300 install price for, and even in Utah, they are only starting with the existing and will be expanding to other neighborhoods where they will have install the fiber.

Re:Dark fiber (3, Informative)

swillden (191260) | about 4 months ago | (#46842125)

Google doesn't build infrastructure. They take advantage of existing municipal fiber.

Google takes advantage of existing fiber where available, and builds it where it's not. In KC, it's pretty much all new build. In Provo it's mostly reuse of existing, with increasing amounts of new build as they extend coverage. In Austin I think it's also pretty much all new build.

Google builds fiber (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46843991)

Just going down the street from where I live. They are laying to the front of the house here, looks like a box for every other house. If it broadcasts for up to 90 meters, I'll have many choices.

Why not a government service? (4, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 months ago | (#46840537)

Why not have the government administer a program to provide wifi in all urban areas? Yes, it will suck, but I'm convinced it would suck less than what we have now. From what I can tell, we have zero advantages that private entities are supposed to be bringing. There's no competition going on to offer us better services. Choice in services is a joke. The service we are offered sucks. There's no free market efficiency aside from how they bill you. With subsidies, we're already paying through taxes to support it, and we don't get what we are promised in return for those subsidies. Aside from google, it doesn't seem like anyone is actually putting any effort into improving existing services. We don't enjoy protection from government censorship or even privacy, telecoms gleefully comply with any government whim as long as they get paid to do it.

We get all the downsides of private enterprise too: we pay directly, our information is sold on the free market, we indirectly fund lobbyists who change laws against us, and internet access is not recognized as a right or a necessity (which in my opinion, it is both).

It seems to me that there are two things preventing the government from offering us something better: 1. The telecoms are too powerful for it to be nationalized and 2. We have a bunch of people who think anything the government does is communism and evil.

Re:Why not a government service? (3, Interesting)

Morpf (2683099) | about 4 months ago | (#46840673)

That is what happens if one privatizes critical infrastructure. Because it is critical, the enterprises can screw you over big times and milk you like a cow–and probably will do so.

Re:Why not a government service? (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 4 months ago | (#46845475)

WiFi is "critical infrastructure"!??! ...and a for profit is giving it away FOR FREE?
(yes, obviously they get ad dollars and information in exchange)

Re:Why not a government service? (1)

Morpf (2683099) | about 4 months ago | (#46849651)

Not Wifi in it's tightest meaning, but internet may be called critical infrastructure nowadays.

Re:Why not a government service? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46840713)

I'm sure you wouldn't mind if the government decided to start a business that used taxpayer money to directly compete against what ever business it is that you do.

Re:Why not a government service? (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 4 months ago | (#46841089)

I'm sure you wouldn't mind if the government decided to start a business that used taxpayer money to directly compete against what ever business it is that you do.

They aren't starting a business. They are providing infrastructure. The REA benefited individuals and business alike. So did the expansion of telephone, airports and highways. So do public hospitals, schools, fire and police departments. All of those were private at one time or another and the government competed or funded endeavors to create the infrastructure we have today.

Re:Why not a government service? (3, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 months ago | (#46841923)

You mean like let my competitors use the roads?

Re:Why not a government service? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 4 months ago | (#46840925)

Given how large the US government already is, and how it is abusing this power to take over ever-larger parts of society, yes it is quite rational to be highly skeptical when someone suggests that giving this government even more control would be a good thing.

Re:Why not a government service? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 months ago | (#46841655)

As I said, we already have that: the corporations comply gleefully with every government whim because the government pays them for it, and if they don't, the government slaps them down. With such an effective carrot and stick scheme going, ISPs offer no benefit over straight government. They're just middlemen.

Re:Why not a government service? (1)

DoctorFuji (1331807) | about 4 months ago | (#46840963)

Not so fast my friend. Corporate interests will squash anything including the government that tries to provide anything different.

Re:Why not a government service? (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 4 months ago | (#46841055)

It would be better if the government put its energy into getting decent internet (wifi or otherwise) in non-urban areas. There are enough subscribers in urban areas to make it worthwhile for somebody to do this, but not so in much of the country. This is basically how electricity and power was rolled out to the entire country. If it is deemed that being connected is as important in the 21st century as these were in the 20th century, then it should be handled similarly.

Re:Why not a government service? (1)

alen (225700) | about 4 months ago | (#46841099)

so you think local governments will provide a free wifi service so everyone will be able to stream netflix in super hd all the time?

Re:Why not a government service? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 months ago | (#46841609)

No, I said there were two reasons why they won't, with the implication that they are stupid reasons. And I know that I'm not being offered that by private ISPs.

Re:Why not a government service? (1)

Tontoman (737489) | about 4 months ago | (#46841651)

Government services are not necessarily more benevolent than private industry. For examples, search for "Detroit government corruption." In fact, TFA tells about the competitive ramifications (e.g. More choices for the consumer) of this Google proposal.

Re:Why not a government service? (1)

greyparrot (895758) | about 4 months ago | (#46842009)

There is certainly precedent; for example the TVA [tva.com] . As a resident of Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY, I am still waiting for Verizon FIOS to be offered. The monopolist Time Warner Cable is colluding with them to keep us from having decent broad-band. I had a really poor ADSL for years, and canceled it in favor of CLEAR wireless. But neither of those is high speed, at least not enough to download anything substantial. I would not go with TWC for either phone or internet service as it takes forever to get anyone to fix it when it goes down. TWC service is really poor and everyone hates them. If I had FIOS I would cancel them in a New York minute.
It is high time for the government to step in to assure us of this essential service. Of course, since the government is largely in the hands of teabaggers, it is unlikely to happen. Having Google get into the urban cable business here in New York would at least improve competition, if they did not collude with the present monopolists.

Re:Why not a government service? (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 4 months ago | (#46844963)

Why isn't having a company doing it for profit motive a better reason than charging _all_ citizens for it?

It's apparently worth it for Google, why not let them do it?

Re:Why not a government service? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46852293)

... except why didn't Fiber work in Provo, to the point they gave everything to Google?

Does anybody remember (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46840771)

Does anybody remember when free wifi was free?

I dont even check anymore because its always some TW or t-mobile bullshit that wants a username & password to get in.

And i'm a t-mobile user.

And (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46841647)

Selling you data to companies

Network Neutrality (2)

Tokolosh (1256448) | about 4 months ago | (#46842077)

Remember that wifi/wireless is explicitly except from the proposed network neutrality regulations.

More WiFi, but shutting it down in Mountain View. (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 4 months ago | (#46844911)

Deploying WiFi there, but shutting down their free public WiFi in Mountain View.. Bizarre...

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