, 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. Utopia executives recently penned an editorial
defending the NDAs from the usual assortment of opponents to taxpayer-funded telecom infrastructure:
Our discussions centered on the potential restructuring of the UTOPIA partnership along the lines of Google/Provo city, which could potentially bring huge benefits to our member cities. We understand why some might feel offended by such agreements; we certainly avoid them in general. But if critics will take the time to fully consider the circumstances, we believe they will understand that confidentiality at this very early stage is necessary for exploring such options.
Insisting that the partnership their keeping secret is "along the lines of Google/Provo city" could be a way to hint that it's Google without explicitly saying so in order to garner enthusiasm. Or the partner really may not be Google, and could be one of several companies exploring limited gigabit deployments (AT&T, CenturyLink, C Spire, Sonic.net).
One problem with Google as an owner or partner in Utopia would be open access. Utopia currently runs as an open access network, with ISPs invited to come in and compete over the infrastructure (several now offering 1 Gbps lines for around $70). Google in contrast, while they original insisted they were interested in running an open access network, strayed from those ideals
as Google Fiber slowly came to fruition.
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.
ISPs like Time Warner Cable and Comcast have tried to damper some of the enthusiasm surrounding Google Fiber by insisting repeatedly that nobody needs 1 Gbps speeds
. While on the surface such comments seem just plain unimaginative given the history of technology, they're intentionally designed to shift the overall conversation away from the sector's lack of competition and toward the idea that the often costly service incumbents are willing to provide is simply good enough
After being one of the only towns or cities to hold up Google Fiber because of liability concerns
, Overland Park this week appeared poised to do a 180 and approve the deal
, which city officials tell me remains identical to other deals in the region. Unfortunately for the city, locals who attended a town meeting Monday night informed me that instead of accepting the deal, Google stated
that their deployment to Overland Park was going to experience an "indefinite continuance."
While Overland Park is home to Sprint -- and local incumbent Time Warner Cable certainly has a history of scuttling competition using underhanded tactics
-- there has been no evidence that Overland Park's trepidation was anything other than the city looking out for its own best interests.
You might recall that Google Fiber took a lot of criticism back in July for language in their terms of service that technically bans servers. The criticism originated with a user who filed a complaint with the FCC
, claiming that Google's language aimed to prohibit Google Fiber users from doing commonplace things like running Minecraft servers or using Slingboxes.
As noted at the time
, the hysteria was a little overblown in that nearly all ISPs contain this language to protect themselves from extremely heavy users trying to run a business on a residential line, and in many instances the language is never even enforced. Google primarily took heat because they professed to be offering a service that's different from the status quo, and the status quo is rights-eroding and ambiguous fine print.
Fast forward to last week, when Google Fiber appears to have quietly updated their terms of service and acceptable use policy
with new language that clarifies that they're not interested in prohibiting most reasonable uses of the connection:
However, personal, non-commercial use of servers that complies with this AUP is acceptable, including using virtual private networks (VPN) to access services in your home and using hardware or applications that include server capabilities for uses like multi-player gaming, video-conferencing, and home security.
As with most ISPs, you'll likely only gain the attention of Google Fiber's engineer team if you're pushing numerous terabytes monthly as you attempt to run a porn and poker empire out of your bedroom closet.
Updated with Google comment at bottom story continues..
. Google got a lot of press
for the fact that Google Fiber lured a number of startups to Kansas City, a number of which were buying homes in the city just to get 1 Gbps connectivity.
As noted on Monday
, Google is gearing up to deliver 1 Gbps service to the first customers in Provo, Utah starting this month. Given that Google Fiber's launch in Provo comes on the back of the existing iProvo and Veracity fiber to the home service there, Google says their Provo launch will obviously be somewhat different than Kansas City or Austin, with some existing Provo FTTH customers being able to sign up for Google Fiber much more quickly.
Back in April Google announced
that they'd purchased the iProvo fiber to the home network for all of $1 (ignoring build-out obligations), and while they stated the service would go live later this year in Provo, Utah they didn't offer specifics. Google has since gotten more specific in a new advertisement
(hat tip to Multichannel News
) that points out the first customer should go live next month. While not mentioning them by name, the ad pokes a little fun at local Provo incumbent ISPs Comcast and CenturyLink.
Google and the government's U.S. Ignite program (which we profiled last year
) have joined forces to host a competition aimed at finding applications that can utilize such connections. According to a Google blog post
, the Gigabit Explorer Challenge will take place in Kansas City from November 1 to November 3, and urges users to submit ideas to U.S. Ignite
for next generation applications that can truly put 1 Gbps networks to use.
A federal appeals court this week ruled that Google could be held liable for civil damages for the company's 2011 scandal
involving the company's collection of Wi-Fi data from unsecured hotspots using their Street View vehicles. To come to that conclusion, the court followed a rather unique logic path
; according to the court, unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots are not
"radio communications" that are "readily accessible" to the general public and therefore Google violated the Wiretap Act.
When people think of the center of the technology world, places such as California's Silicon Valley, home to Google among others, come to mind. Others might envision the Seattle area where Microsoft and Amazon are based. story continues..
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When I first heard about Chromecast, I was skeptical on whether I would end up buying one. I have always been annoyed and aggravating by streaming solutions for TVs.
Earlier this month we exclusively reported that Comcast was already responding to Google Fiber's entry into the Provo, Utah market with several bundle promotions
, including a triple play bundle of 105 Mbps service, TV, and either Xfinity Voice or Xfinity Home Secure for $120 a month for three years. Our source also told us Comcast would be offering several double play options ranging from $70 to $100 that bundle 105 Mbps service with various TV packages.
Google has announced they'll be offering their $70, symmetrical 1 Gbps fiber to the home service in more Kansas locations. According to a company blog post
, Merriam, Kansas is the latest Kansas market to get approval for Google Fiber. "We want to hook up Merriam residents as soon as possible, but we still need to plan our network and start construction before we can start installations," notes Google. Merriam is the 17th city in the Kansas City region to sign up for the speedier service, though some larger suburbs (such as Overland Park and Independence) have yet to join the party.
Last month 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 uses hot air balloons 49 feet wide stationed 12 miles above the planet, well above the range of commercial aircraft.
The NFL has traditionally been one of the more backward leagues when it comes to offering games streamed over the Internet, especially when compared to Major League Baseball's relatively inexpensive streaming offerings
. The NFL's stumbling is in no limited part thanks to their exclusive deal with DirecTV for Sunday ticket. According to All Things D
however, Google CEO Larry Page and YouTube content boss Robert Kyncl met with the NFL recently about possibly offering NFL games, with the Sunday Ticket package a topic of conversation. The rights cost DirecTV around $1 billion a year, a price that Google would probably be happy to pay to beef up their own TV ambitions.
Google has clearly made the ISP major leagues. AT&T has long faced headaches from those complaining about the company's FTTN VRAD cabinets, and now Google Fiber is also feeling the ire of customers who want their ultra-fast broadband to be more aesthetically pleasing. story continues..
Google has released an update
, on their plans for Google Fiber in Provo Utah. After buying the existing $39 billion iProvo network for all of $1
(albeit with strict build out conditions), Google has a bit of a leg up on the build out compared to other launch locations like Kansas City and Austin -- and hopes to have the first Provo Google Fiber connected before the end of the year.
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