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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. Two, whereas old franchise models aimed for uniformity (the very reason many of you even have cable at this moment) Google's deployment model heavily celebrates cherry picking, or only deploying services to the most profitable areas.
Google countered this somewhat early on in Kansas City with Google Fiber "rallies
" determined to help the community decide which areas got service first. Still, it soon became clear that lower-income communities still found themselves lagging
for attention, with wealthier neighborhoods doing things like hiring their door to door salesmen to improve their chances. It's just a variation on the same problem of selective deployment.
For obvious reasons AT&T clearly loves cherry picking, CEO Randall Stephenson telling investors this week
that they'd just love to offer 1 Gbps to people, but government requirements make that impossible (not true, but more on that later). Stephenson also argued that now that Google has made cherry picking more acceptable, deployment of 1 Gbps lines nationwide will surely pick up speed:
"I think you are going to see that begin to manifest itself around the United States, and in not just AT&T and Google, Stephenson said.
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
Researchers at the University of Southampton in England say they've developed a new type of optical fiber
that smashes all previously held bandwidth transmission records. The fibers are more hollow than traditional fiber, yet significantly faster at transmitting data; specifically they can transmit bandwidth at 73.7 terabits per second roughly 1,000 times faster than todays 40-gigabit fiber optic links -- and at lower latency:
The researchers overcame these issues by fundamentally improving the hollow core design, using an ultra-thin photonic-bandgap rim. This new design enables low loss (3.5 dB/km), wide bandwidth (160nm), and latency that blows the doors off normal optic fiber light, and thus the data, really is travelling 31% faster down this new hollow fiber. To achieve the transmission rate of 73.7 terabits per second, the researchers used wave division multiplexing (WDM) to transmit 37 40-gigabit signals down the hollow fiber.
The downside? The cable's still see 3.5 dB/km loss and are only really ideal for shorter range runs.
For several years now the city of Baltimore has been asking
Verizon why they, and several other significant cities like Buffalo, Boston, and Alexandria weren't seen fit to receive FiOS upgrades. Despite half a decade of asking the same question, they still don't seem to be getting any answers.
The folks over at the Google Fiber blog
have announced that the company's 1 Gbps fiber service is expanding into some additional markets -- just probably not yours. Google Fiber community manager Rachel Hack states that the Olathe, Kansas city council has given the green light for Google Fiber to be expanded to that city, about twenty minutes away from Kansas City. "We think that Fiber and widespread Internet access will help to create jobs, grow local businesses, and make Olathe even stronger as it grows," insists the search giant. The Kansas City Star
notes that the agreement involves providing free 1 Gbps connections to four public facilities for up to 10 years.
by Revcb Thursday 14-Mar-2013
by Revcb Wednesday 13-Mar-2013
by Revcb Tuesday 12-Mar-2013
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Recent news contributorsKarl Bode , telcodad