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Google Fiber: It's a 'Myth' Consumers Don't Want 1 Gbps
by Karl Bode 12:31PM Wednesday Oct 23 2013
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.

Speaking in Amsterdam this week at the Broadband World Forum, Google Access project leader Kevin Lo offered tips to communities eager to get faster broadband, while debunking the idea that nobody wants or needs faster, cheaper speeds (did that really need debunking?). Lo notes ISPs have disproven their own claims by immediately offering faster speeds in response to Google Fiber launch markets:
quote:
"There's a myth that consumers don't want, won't pay for, or don't need high-speed broadband. Based on our experience that simply isn't true. There's huge demand for faster Internet," Lo said. "Even companies that said publicly that customers don't want higher speeds have begun to raise their speeds and lower prices in Google Fiber markets."
Do you technically "need Google fiber right now" or you'll asphyxiate and be disowned? Of course not. But again, by focusing on whether consumers need Google Fiber, the conversation shifts away from the fact that many consumers are dissatisfied with what's available to them courtesy of a lack of serious market competition.

Lo insists that by simply providing these faster speeds, innovation will work organically to find new services that can utilize that kind of bandwidth -- something the entirety of human history tends to validate. Also not "needed" following the logic of the old guard: faster cars, smaller and more efficient electronics, improved medical technology, competitors other than Ma Bell, new and improved Wi-Fi technology, faster and more fuel-efficient engines....


134 comments .. click to read

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InvalidError

join:2008-02-03
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reply to skeechan

Re: Difference between want and need

said by skeechan:

Some people may want it, they certainly don't need it.

Exactly. Too many people fail to tell the difference between *want* and *need*.

I'm mostly happy with 7/1 DSL - gets everything I *need* done in a reasonably timely fashion. If I wasn't single, I would probably *need* ~15Mbps. If I had a whole family of moderate internet users, I would probably need 25-30Mbps to make it through peak hours.

How much bandwidth would I actually want? Probably 2-3X what I need just to smooth things out when I'm downloading a couple of things and want some spare bandwidth to do other stuff on the side.

So I would dare Google to offer a 100Mbps tier at maybe $50/month and see how many people think saving $20/month is more valuable than a theoretical extra 900Mbps very few of them likely have any use for.


battleop

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reply to Skippy25
I've participated as part of the "Home Buying Population" in the last 60 days and it had zero effect on buying or selling a home.
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I do not, have not, and will not work for AT&T/Comcast/Verizon/Charter or similar sized company.


battleop

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reply to TBBroadband
We sold my mother-in-law's house and bought her a condo. She had access to EPB at both addresses. In both cases the availability of fiber did not effect the price of either in any way what-so-ever. It didn't change the appraisal of either home nor did it show up on anything else.
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I do not, have not, and will not work for AT&T/Comcast/Verizon/Charter or similar sized company.


battleop

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reply to skeechan
EPB has 45k subscribers that are subscribing to the cheapest plan they have and around 2000-2500ish that were in the 100/250/1000 plans as a group.

When 30/30 was the cheap one that's what they had, when they bumped it to 50/50 that's what they stayed with and then when they bumped it to 100/100 they stayed with it. It's about $9/mo to go from 100/100 to 1000/1000 and very few are making that jump.

95%+ are going to go with what ever is the cheapest that's above 8-10Mb.
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Skippy25

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reply to TBBroadband
I and many others would strongly disagree with your overall generalization of the home buying population.

But thanks for attempting to speak for all of us.


kpfx

join:2005-10-28
San Antonio, TX

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reply to skeechan
You've hit the nail on the head! I never understood this "all or nothing" approach Google is doing. And while their argument is that they want to get Gig connections out there to see what happens.... with no business offerings its a very one sided experiment.

I'm a power user myself and while I'd like to have 1 Gbps, I don't need it. Especially at $70/mo when my $40/mo 30 Mbps tier is doing just fine. And 5 Mbps is much to slow, even at "free".

So until I see that killer application that needs 100+ Mbps, I'll hang on to that extra $360/year.

shpatb

join:2013-07-16

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reply to skeechan
They already offer a "Free" tier for people that don't want the speed. ATT charges about 44 dollars a month for about the same speed 5 mb/s vs 6 for their "elite" plan.


skeechan
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Some people may want it, they certainly don't need it.

What they really want is cheaper than $70/mo internet service. I would put a challenge to google to actually offer more tiers, to offer those (cheaper speeds). Offer a 200Mb $50 tier, a 100Mb $30 tier and a 50Mb $15 tier and see what they sell the most off. Me thinks that 1Gb won't win. Why? People don't need 1Gb or want it that badly even at the bargain of $70/mo.
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Nocchi rules.