Belvedere Tiburon, CA
Why Google is doing this.... For anyone who doesn't believe Google's statement that they don't want to be an ISP:
Google is behaving very rationally here. Commercial history is rife with examples of companies encouraging competition in supply and allied businesses which affect or are necessary to the primary company's core business.
Google benefits, through increased and improved use of its search and content offerings if there are faster, better, and more ways to reach those services.
General Motors encouraged the development of independent tire and gasoline industries.
Kodak encouraged Bell & Howell to produce projectors for its home movie films.
Boeing, McDonnell, Lockheed, Douglas all encouraged competition in the aircraft engine and avionics markets, as did the airlines and governments which ultimately purchased their products.
In the '60's, '70's, and '80's, recreational boat manufacturers encouraged competition in the boat engine market--though that competition has largely given way to consolidation/consortium manufacturing today.
Frankly, I wish Google would become an ISP--they'd clean the telcos' clocks. But I rather think Google believes that it has enough to do closer to its core businesses, and they are improving their chances of long term success by staying focused.
VoIP--the death knell of remaining voice monopolies!