Last Friday we reported
how indications are that Google was getting ready to announce new Google Fiber build locations in Charlotte and Raleigh. Now additional reports suggest that up to four new Google Fiber cities may be announced as soon as tomorrow. A Report by the Wall Street Journal
quotes anonymous insiders who say Google Fiber will soon be announced for Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh and Nashville. Press invitations have been sent out for events in all four cities, notes the report:
Google recently sent invitations to local news organizations in those four cities to attend events this week, without identifying the subject. The Atlanta and Nashville events are scheduled for Tuesday, Raleigh and Charlotte on Wednesday and Durham Thursday, according to local news reports.
All four cities were of course on Google's original list of 34 potential candidate cities
. "We don't have any news to share right now, but we hope to give you an update on Google Fiber early this year," Google told me when asked to comment.
Senator John Thune and Representative Fred Upton are spearheading a new attempt to pass weak net neutrality rules before the FCC can vote to craft tougher, Title II based rules on February 26. The press is being incredibly polite about this effort, often painting it
as an honest, bipartisan solution to net neutrality from two gentlemen that have changed their tune.
Back in July the FCC stated
that they'd be responding to complaints from two municipal broadband projects (in Chattanooga, Tennessee and in Wilson, North Carolina) about state laws written by regional incumbent ISPs that restrict them from expanding. The FCC said it would look at its authority to ensure broadband is deployed in a "reasonable and timely manner" to potentially strip out parts of these laws that erode local rights to make their own choices on broadband.
Most people look at the ultra-fast speeds provided by Google Fiber and see opportunity. Hollywood looks at the ultra-fast speeds provided by Google and apparently only sees trouble. story continues..
Pushing the marketing mania over gigabit speeds to new heights, Minnesota-based US Internet this week announced that the company would begin offering 10 Gbps speeds to residential and business customers. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune
, the company will begin offering the 10 Gbps offering in portions of Southwest Minneapolis starting this week. The company says they'll be offering the ultra-fast speed tier at a price point of $400 per month, though only if you're one of the company's 30,000 locations served in the city. The company's 1 Gbps service currently costs $65 a month, while their 100 Mbps service is $47 a month.
1 Gbps has of course been the marketing buzzword du jour this year, companies offering a smattering of 1 Gbps connections to developments -- then heavily marketing them to give the impression of significantly larger upgrades. Cincinnati Bell is no exception, the company late this year launching their own "FiOptics" 1 Gbps offering
for $90 a month.
Last week Google unveiled pricing
for Google Fiber in Austin, and this week the company began taking the first sign ups for neighborhood deployments, as their "fiberhood" process gets underway. According to a Google blog post
, interested Austinites in the South and Southeast areas of the city can head here
to plug in their information and support their neighborhood as an initial build candidate.
AT&T has had their wrist slapped by the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Better Business Bureau for not being entirely honest when it comes to the availability of the company's 45 Mbps U-Verse tier. While AT&T started offering a 45 Mbps U-Verse tier last year, as we noted at the time it's not available to all U-Verse subscribers
, depending on your loop length, the availability of an extra copper pair, or the quality of local copper.
Google Fiber has come out with a little more build out and pricing details for their deployment in Austin. According to a Google website update
, the company confirms that Austin users will have three options at sign up, those options largely matching what we've seen in previous deployments in both Kansas City and Provo, Utah.
Not only was Kansas City the first market to get Google Fiber's symmetrical 1 Gbps service, but a smattering of competitors are responding by offering similar (or better) options. A company by the name of Consolidated Communications this week announced
that they'll soon be offering everyone within range of their fiber footprint symmetrical 1 Gbps connections for $70 a month with no installation or other fees.
September of last year wireless operator C Spire issued a rather surprising announcement
saying they were going to start deploying fixed-line broadband networks capable of 1 Gbps in several markets within their (mostly Southern) footprint. C Spire's initial focus will primarily be on Mississippi, where nine cities are currently in the running to be the first to get the speedier service.
As noted previously, Verizon's FiOS expansion has been over for several years
, with the exception of franchise build out promises for major cities (though some of those deployment promises, like in NYC, probably won't be met
). Still, some of the forgotten regions in Verizon's footprint (like Alexandria, Baltimore, Buffalo & Boston) continue to hold out hope that the company will eventually decide to extend FiOS a little bit further.
After mocking other 1 Gbps deployments as "hype" that "confuses customers," Frontier Communications last week quietly started offering 1 Gbps service under the FiberHome brand to a few development communities in Durham
. According to Frontier, the 1 Gbps service will run users $220 a month.
Last year, Frontier Communications CEO Maggie Wilderotter stated that people don't really need 1 Gbps, and that the 3 to 6 Mbps most of her customers can get was just fine for most people
. Last summer, trying to downplay the fact said 3-6 Mbps is painfully uncompetitive, Wilderotter called Google Fiber "hype" that "confuses customers
," and that even talking about 1 Gbps services was something that was "disrespectful" to the customer base.
32 cities in nineteen different states have formed a coalition aimed at building networks in those cities that private ISPs have so far refused to. Dubbed the Next Century Cities
coalition, the organization will aim to share knowledge and resources that aid the delivery of next-generation 1 Gbps networks. "The leaders whose communities participate in Next Century Cities know that reliable, affordable, and fast Internet is no longer a luxury," states the organization. "Like electricity and plumbing, it is now essential infrastructure." The group arises as the FCC looks to dismantle
portions of ISP-written protectionist state laws that prohibit towns and cities from building their own networks -- even if nobody else will. The full city member list can be found here
South Korea's SK Telecom today is showing off 10 Gbps connectivity SK Broadband at the Plenipotentiary Conference of the International Telecommunications Union. According to Akamai’s Q2 2014 The State of the Internet report, South Korea tops the charts by delivering an average Internet connection speed of 24.6Mbps, significantly faster than the fourteenth place 11.4Mbps seen by the US. story continues..
While there has been some concerns over whether or not Google Fiber will leave some potential neighborhoods high and dry, the latest stats suggest
that 95% of Kansas City neighborhoods have now qualified for service. There's a large chunk of neighborhoods scattered around the Kansas City area that didn't qualify, and criticism continues over how Google's "fiberhood" approach excludes some.
Former Google Fiber boss Milo Medin recently proclaimed that the most difficult obstacle for Google in deploying fiber isn't digging ditches or dealing with government -- it's securing TV programming. Video "is the single biggest impediment" to Google Fiber deployment, Medin told attendees
of the COMPTEL telecom conference in Dallas this week. "We operate at a very significant difference than incumbents we compete against," said Medin, who called programming "biggest piece of our cost structure." "We may be paying in some markets double what incumbents are paying for the same programming," he added.
On the heels of tweaking plans earlier this year
, GVTC, Texas' largest telephone cooperative and a cable and FTTH overbuilder, has jumped into the 1 Gbps game. According to a company announcement
, GVTC says they've already brought 1 Gbps speeds to the 40,000 homes in the San Antonio area already connected to their 2,200 mile fiber network. According to the company's website
, pricing across the company's tiers is a bit higher than what we've seen elsewhere, with their 1 Gbps down, 100 Mbps up tier running $295 a month. The company also offers 20/3 Mbps ($80), 40/10 Mbps ($100), 80/20 Mbps ($130), and 200/50 Mbps ($200) options.
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