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AT&T today announced that the company is "eyeing" 100 potential target cities as locations they may
deploy faster 1 Gbps "Gigapower" service. According to the company's press release
, this "major initiative" will target 100 "candidate cities and municipalities" across 21 metropolitan areas nationwide. Those users could then get AT&T's $70-$100 per month
1 Gbps service, currently only available in a very small portion of Austin, Texas.
Before you get too excited, you need to understand that this is a bluff of immense proportion. It's what I affectionately refer to as "fiber to the press release."
Ever since Google Fiber came on the scene, AT&T's response has been highly theatrical in nature. What AT&T would have the press and public believe is that they're engaged in a massive new deployment of fiber to the home service. What's actually
happening is that AT&T is upgrading a few high-end developments where fiber was already in the ground (these users were previously capped at DSL speeds
) and pretending it's a serious expansion of fixed-line broadband.
PC World story continues..
(here's a cached version
as the website has been having problems) notes that not only has Google been testing their Loon "broadband by balloon" service via unlicensed spectrum in New Zealand, they've for the first time been testing cellular data delivery by balloon in the Nevada desert. The report notes the cellular tests approved in by the FCC involve a ground station and a balloon 65,000 feet in the air, both located within 100 miles of Carlin, Nevada.
Back in February Google announced
they were working with thirty-four new cities in nine regions on making it easier for those locations to see Google Fiber deployed. While not all of those cities will receive Google Fiber, the company announced they'd be working with all of the cities to help expedite the arrival of faster broadband services -- whether it's courtesy of Google Fiber, somebody else, or the city itself.
In June of last year Google unveiled Google Loon
, the latest in a long line of similar projects that will use hot air balloons to deliver broadband and wireless services to under-served or emergency prone areas. Project Loon will use hot air balloons 49 feet wide stationed 12 miles above the planet, well above the range of commercial aircraft.
According to a somewhat vague report over at The Information
(it's annoyingly paywalled, check out The Verge
instead), Google executives have been toying with the idea of offering wireless service in regions where they already offer Google Fiber. The service, if it actually ever came to fruition, would likely be an MVNO that relies heavily on Wi-Fi when cellular signal isn't available. There's no time frame on an actual service, though the report claims Google talked to Sprint in 2013 about the possibility before the company was acquired by SoftBank, and spoke to Verizon sometime this year about the idea.
As Google Fiber gets ready to launch in Provo, Utah, the company is staggering deployment of the 1 Gbps service across 7 different "fiberhoods." This week the company took to their blog
to announce sign up deadlines for the final four fiberhoods: Grandview, North Provo, Southeast Provo, and Foothills. "If you miss your deadline, we don’t currently have plans to reopen signups for Fiber in the future — so it’s important that you sign up now," Google Fiber Provo Head of Operations John Richards states in a blog post
. Interested users should head to Google's website
and sign up now.
A little more than four years ago, the United States crafted and publicized its first ever broadband plan. At the time we noted
that actually having a plan was an improvement, the plan itself was rather hollow, timid and avoided focusing whatsoever on the country's biggest broadband problem: a serious lack of real competition among last mile ISPs.
As Karl Bode noted last month
, Google’s installation of a telecom cabinet in the middle of a sidewalk caused a bit of an issue with residents of Kansas City, MO. Now, others seem to be having similar issues with the installation of Google fiber boxes.
In addition to Google Fiber, Google has been quietly spending a lot of time pushing Wi-Fi in a number of new locations around the country including San Franciso parks
. However, hometown locals have been complaining the company has been neglecting the health of the network that started it all: the Wi-Fi operation they launched near their Mountain View, California headquarters back in 2006.
As we've recently noted
, Austin is starting to resemble the kind of competitive market most of us only dream about. Thanks to Google Fiber, AT&T is now planning to offer $70, 1 Gbps connections in the city -- recently joined by Grande Communications, who says they too will offer 1 Gbps lines for $65 a month
Google today announced that the company would be laying the groundwork to deploy Google Fiber to a number of additional cities -- though the effort appears to be more focused on helping those cities do it themselves. According to a Google blog post
, the company says they're working with thirty four different cities
in nine metro areas to help them understand how to make faster broadband a reality.
Reuters story continues..
was the first to report today that Google is preparing to cut their losses with their $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola in 2011
, and will soon sell Motorola Mobility and "certain patents" to Lenovo for around $3 billion. Reuters claims the deal could be officially announced as soon as tomorrow.
The government has reached a settlement with several of the nation's biggest Internet companies (Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft and Apple) which had (to various degrees) to be able to reveal more information on how many data requests they receive from government. While the government has allowed increased disclosure on national security letters (NSLs, or gag letters), companies have been restricted to only stating a range of numbers of such letters they've received (see Verizon's recent transparency report
Google Fiber today announced they were opening up registration for their speedy 1 Gbps service in Provo, Utah. Pricing for services will be the same as previous launches ($70 for symmetrical 1 Gbps, $120 for 1 Gbps with TV, and 5 Mbps service for free for 7 years) with one exception: because of the pre-existing Veracity infrastructure there, the install fee for the free tier is just $30. story continues..
Google today announced that they're embedding data compression by default in their latest mobile Chrome update. According to a company blog post
, the compression is disabled by default, but when enabled promises bandwidth consumption savings of up to 50%.
While Google Fiber's sweetheart deals with cities
certainly aren't outside the realm of criticism, it's not as if cities aren't getting some perks out of the arrangement. As part of Google Fiber's deal with Austin, the city is to receive free, 1 Gbps connections at 100 locations for the next decade. The city just released a list of the locations they've selected
, which range from YMCAs to performing arts organizations.
Over at the Google Fiber blog
, Google notes that a listed location has to be in a "fiberhood" before it can get service, so the company is warning that it may be a little while before these listed locations get service:
"This whole process will take awhile — it will probably be over a year before we can even start making these Community Connections. But until then, we’re excited to get to know these organizations and hear about their plans for how they want to use their Fiber connection."
It's not clear if AT&T's 1 Gbps deployments in Austin
will come with any similar perks for the city.
, the nation's largest deployment of municipal broadband service, has been turning heads for a wave of non-disclosure agreements they've made the mayors of the network's 11 partner cities sign. According to the Standard Examiner
, the NDAs require that Utopia partners remain quiet about a "possible major new partner and project." That partner isn't named, but the story calls said partner an "Internet giant."
After Google acquired the Provo, Utah municipal network
for a song, obvious speculation leads to wondering if Google would be interested in acquiring Utopia as well and integrating the two networks.
It was rather clear that Google TV landed with a bit of a thud, though it was made clearer when Logitech CEO Guerrino De Luca in 2012 stated their launch of the Google TV powered Revue was "a mistake of implementation of a gigantic nature," and that Google's product was a glorified beta
Now reports indicate that Google is working hard on the next chapter of this effort, a new TV set top that will fall under the Nexus brand.
Google's interest in Africa as a developing market with huge earnings potential has been exemplified by their White Space broadband experiments there
, though the search giant has turned up the speed a notch on the news they'll be deploying a significant amount number of fiber connections to African cities. According to the Google Blog
, the company's "Project Link
" initiative will begin with Google deploying fiber throughout the Ugandan capital of Kampala.
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