Featured ContentNote: We're able to pay for good user-contributed content
by Revcb Friday 31-May-2013
Google Fiber has by and large been seen as an experiment designed to help nudge connectivity forward
by shaming under-performing ISPs, while also acting as a next-generation ad and video technology testbed. Google has tried hard to fight this impression, repeatedly insisting this is a serious business they're engaged in, even if every indication is they'll never take Google Fiber nationwide -- much less beyond a handful of key target cities.
As it stands, Google has been picking low-hanging fruit when it comes to where they deploy Google Fiber. Most of the markets selected so far suffer from the fairly typical cable/phone duopoly, where a lack of real competition has resulted in high prices and sub-par speeds. story continues..
Cedar Falls, Iowa is the latest city to join the 1 Gbps party, Cedar Falls Utilities this week announcing that they're offering 1 Gbps lines
to both business and residential customers. Though their announcement avoids mentioning prices at all (how very larger ISP of them), local papers
indicate that residential users will need to pay around $275 per month, so Google Fiber pricing this is not. Still, that's a universe faster than anything regional incumbents like CenturyLink and Mediacom are offering, and users who don't need that speed can still get 16 Mbps fiber service for $51 a month. "Experience shows that when we deliver more bandwidth, customers find innovative ways to use it," insists CFU General Manager Jim Krieg. "We expect demand for gigabit service to start small, but grow fast."
Speaking at the J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference earlier this month, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo stated that the company's earliest FiOS markets are now reaching penetration targets
and that most of their new customers are signing up for faster speeds.
While there's absolutely no doubt that Google Fiber has been a positive thing for the industry, critics have singled out two problems with Google's ultra-fast offering. One, the company backed off of open access promises
that would have allowed multiple companies to come in and truly compete over the infrastructure.
Google this week announced over at the Google Fiber blog
that Google Fiber will be expanding further into Missouri. According to Google, the Gladstone, Missouri City Council has voted to let Google bring their symmetrical 1 Gbps broadband service and IPTV platform to the city. "As weve said before, it takes awhile to plan, engineer, and start building our network in new communities, so it will still be some time before we can hook up our Gladstone customers," says the company. The news comes on the heels of expansion announcements for Shawnee, Kansas, Austin, Texas, and Provo, Utah. The Google Fiber website
tracks which locations currently have Google Fiber, and which locations have expansions looming.
Google has been fairly tight lipped when it comes to hard take up numbers for their Google Fiber services, but a report this week by Bernstein Research
indicates that around a third of the homes that can currently get Google Fiber are doing so. According to the survey, around ten to fifteen percent of those in Google Fiber's footprint take the "free" service, which delivers 5 Mbps speeds for no monthly charge after users pay a $300 installation fee.
Mark down Tullahoma, Tennessee as the latest member of the 1 Gbps club. Tullahoma Utilities Board (TUB) offers fiber broadband service in the town under the name LightTUBe
, with users currently able to offer speeds up to 300 Mbps downstream for around $300 a month. Now, TUB insists that those users will be automatically upgraded to 1 Gbps
as of this month. "The TUB board made the decision to build a fiber to the premise system for economic development reasons, and it is paying off for our community," insists TUB general manager Brian Skelton. "We want to make Tullahoma a much more desirable location for technology companies to locate, due to our ultra-high speed Internet and our highly skilled workforce."
Google has announced via their Google Fiber blog
that they'll be expanding Google Fiber's presence around Kansas City futher. According to the company, the Shawnee City Council voted to bring Google Fiber to their city, though there's no hard date being given as to when locals can expect to sign up for service. "We still have a lot of planning and engineering work to do before were ready to bring Fiber to Shawnee, so we dont have an estimate for when service will be available yet," says the company. Shawnee is the fifth Johnson County municipality to sign an agreement with Google for the service, after a similar expansion announcement for Olathe was made in March
Back in 2008 Verizon negotiated a closed-door agreement with NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg that agreed to wire 100% of the city with FiOS by 2014
-- sort of. Fine print in the deal allows Verizon to back away from that promise if they pay a few small fines and/or aren't seeing the kind of TV subscriber uptake they'd like.
Vermont has joined the gigabit residential broadband club courtesy of Vermont Telephone Company
(Vtel), who is now offering locals 1 Gbps connections for $35 a month. Thanks to around $94 million in federal broadband stimulus funding, the company spent the last year running 1,200 miles of new fiber across several rural Vermont counties in order to upgrade legacy infrastructure that was first launched back in 1890.
Wilson, North Carolina is the home of a municipal fiber deployment named Greenlight that has offered symmetrical 100 Mbps connections since 2009
, and is now poised to offer locals speeds up to 1 Gbps. The deployment has been a favorite target for incumbent providers for years; Time Warner Cable has a long history of using misleading push polls to confuse locals
, and both writing and lobbying for state-level laws aimed at preventing other "Wilsons" from sprouting up.
XMission knows a thing or two about deploying fiber in Utah -- they're one of the ISPs that offers service over the wholesale Utopia network -- the largest municipal fiber deployment in the United States. As we noted last week
Google managed to get a $39 million fiber deployment for just $1, and while XMission welcomes Google to the fold, in a blog post
the company criticizes the fact that Provo had to essentially give away the farm to bring Google in.
Kansas is getting another 1 Gbps provider, but this time not powered by Google. Lawrence-based Wicked Broadband this week announced
they'll be offering 1 Gbps connections in the hopes that all the business attention doesn't go to Kansas City. Wicked will offer 1 Gbps for $100 per month; 100 Mbps for $70 per month and 20 Mbps for $50 a month -- with no usage caps.
"Were now right next door to the fastest network in the country," Wicked Broadband co-owner Joshua Montgomery told a crowd gathered for the product announcement. "If a startup company is going to choose between Lawrence and Olathe, they are going to choose Olathe because it has the infrastructure."
As noted many times, Google's goal isn't to take Google Fiber nationally, it's to help light a fire under the industry's posterior in order to kickstart a shred more competition for faster services, and at least in Kansas -- it appears to be helping.
Google this afternoon officially confirmed that they'll be bringing Google Fiber to Provo, Utah. According to an announcement sent to reporters and a blog post
, Provo was selected because it's the home of hundreds of tech companies and startups.
While we all lust over 1 Gbps connections most of us can't get, Sony-run Japanese ISP So-net Entertainment this week pushed the residential needle to 2 Gbps in Japan
. The speedy service is named "Nuro," and will cost 4,980 yen ($51) per month, providing Japanese customers with 2 Gbps downstream and 1 Gbps upstream. The service requires users sign a two-year contract and pay a 52,500 yen ($539) installation fee -- which the company says they're waiving if users order the service online. The Nuro service is being offered primarily to smaller apartment complexes in Chiba, Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Tokyo, Kanagawa and Saitama.
Google is preparing to announce this week that Austin will be the next major city to see Google Fiber. Though Google has yet to announce anything officially, local ABC affiliate KVUE
has been told by "sources" that the Austin announcement is a done deal.
According to a new survey by the Fiber to the Home Council
, running a fiber to the home network isn't just great for consumers and businesses looking for more bandwidth, but it can save a medium or small scale telco up to 20% in savings annually. "On average, respondents estimated those savings to be 20.4 percent, largely because of a decrease in ongoing repair and maintenance," says the group.
According to the Council (which is comprised of companies selling fiber gear), the number of homes that can access FTTH networks has jumped 17.6 percent over the last year to 22.7 million. Granted most small to mid-sized telcos aren't
installing fiber -- not because they don't realize potential cost savings, but because they either don't have the funds to do so, or there's such pathetic competition across their footprint there's simply nothing driving them to
·more stories, story search, most popular ..
Recent news contributorsKarl Bode , Linklist , SrsBsns