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Google's Demands of Cities Are The Much Lesser of Two Evils
by Bill Neilson 10:30AM Monday Apr 28 2014
As this site has reported on several occasions, residents in Kansas City have been dealing with the usual assortment of problems caused by larger fiber deployments including cut cables, lands being torn into and utility cabinets placed in the middle of sidewalks.

Cities lately been highlighting Google Fiber construction complaints as significant negatives -- yet cities are still begging Google to bring their services to their region. San Antonio has been doing everything possible to get Google Fiber to their city. Baltimore spent an entire year begging Google Fiber to service their city. Multiple cities in Arizona (where I lived at the time) were jumping for joy at the thought of getting Google Fiber. Georgia has several cities with citizens demanding Google Fiber. So, we have cities begging for Google Fiber in the deep South, out West, on the East Coast, in the Midwest.

Why?

Because in today’s world where just about every issue is divided by political sides, we can all agree on one thing: Our Internet and cable services are over-priced and under-perform. Again, there is a reason that Internet and cable companies continue to own last place or near last place in just about every customer service ranking.

In the Seattle Times, Brian Dudley (who I do like to read) mentions that Seattle should look towards Portland to see how they deal with Google and their list of demands. In the article, he states that CenturyLink and other broadband providers will also want special treatment that is afforded to Google:
quote:
Google doesn’t want to abide by current restrictions on the placement of metal utility cabinets on parking strips in front of people’s homes, according to Oregonian reports. That’s not all. Google is going further and requesting that Portland give the company swaths of public property to place garage-size “network huts” — with a 12- by 28-foot base — to support its project.
First, I agree that the utility cabinets are ugly. But as this site has reported for years, cities have been dealing with cabinets and huts from companies like AT&T and Comcast for some time now. This is not new. It's simply the price of new builds. We just don't see it often as Verizon's FiOS build, long finished, was the largest in recent memory.

Mr. Dudley goes on to say that the type of access that Google wants from cities is unprecedented. I do not argue with that. But let’s not act like CenturyLink and others are not utterly catered to by the cities that they service. Recently, Seattle eliminated a law that required phone companies (CenturyLink) to contact homeowners before they installed the cabinets on public easements.

Additionally, why should Seattle give in to CenturyLink? Why treat current providers like CenturyLink the same as Google when CenturyLink has a clear history that involves sticking with current or past technology? We saw that when Seattle wanted their own fiber network due to Qwest (now CenturyLink) telling residents that they would upgrade when customers were ready while the customers demanded faster speeds.

Considering the FCC has found that CenturyLink is quite the under-performer, it shouldn’t shock anyone that recently the State of Washington is still trying to get actual answers about the 911 system outage that occurred with CenturyLink lines.

So, Portland will be conceding to Google quite a lot. In fact, maybe more so than any previous city. It's important to always remember however that there is a reason that cities like Portland are this desperate to get solid Internet and cable at a semi-reasonable price. Total disdain toward uncooperative existing ISPs has them willing to go to the ends of the earth for a company to provide solid service without charging them an arm and a leg.

Then again, CenturyLink has specifically told us that we don’t need Google Fiber. Wait, can we find a state where one city is not on their knees begging for Google Fiber to come to them? It must be a coincidence that countless companies are now following a trail blazed by Google Fiber, with countless locations all-but handing them the keys to the city in exchange for faster, better, and cheaper broadband.

Ain't competition great?

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dynodb
Premium,VIP
join:2004-04-21
Minneapolis, MN

2 recommendations

"Competition"

The spirit of competition relies upon competitors playing under the same set of rules- not the local government granting handouts and a different set of rules for one over the other.

If Google can compete under the same conditions, following the same rules- great. If the rules and regulations are too restrictive, change them- for everybody. To do otherwise will simply lead to the same sort of government imposed monopoly we've seen with cable TV "franchising agreements". How did that work out?

It's beyond absurd to suggest it's "giving in" to treat all entities equally, and that "competition" entails special favors to one over the other.
existenz

join:2014-02-12
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Google Fiber

Re: "Competition"

In KC, Google changed the rules and cut red tape/bureaucracy but then other ISPs got the same benefits. So Google is refining local govt processes that makes it easier for all ISPs to deploy fiber (at least it ended out that way in KC).

Google has no special privileges over other ISPs, they just changed the game.
dynodb
Premium,VIP
join:2004-04-21
Minneapolis, MN

Re: "Competition"

said by existenz:

In KC, Google changed the rules and cut red tape/bureaucracy but then other ISPs got the same benefits. So Google is refining local govt processes that makes it easier for all ISPs to deploy fiber (at least it ended out that way in KC).

Google has no special privileges over other ISPs, they just changed the game.

And that's how it should be, but the post suggests that Google should get special treatment because... well, just because.
ITGeeks

join:2014-04-20
Cleveland, OH

Re: "Competition"

And Google does. Google demands the cities pay for the designs and to locate all of the lines under ground. They also demand the cities take on ALL and ANY legal expenses should anything come from their beta project. Comcast, Charter and TWC do not require that. Also those ISPs and others do not require the cities to give up land to build their "huts" or demand the use of public buildings to put in equipment for free. Google also skips the permitting process as it is today; something that others have had to agree to and follow for years.

Google never changed anything, they simply said if you don't do it, nothing for you- and those cities still are NOT going to get anything for many more years to come- at least 5. It's been over 2 years now and KC isn't even done. Austin was announced about a year ago- still nothing really going on there.

Agreements mean nothing. Google just likes to read their name.
cramer
Premium
join:2007-04-10
Raleigh, NC
kudos:9

Re: "Competition"

said by ITGeeks:

Google demands the cities pay for the designs and to locate all of the lines under ground.

Any city worth talking to already has such maps. (in fact, many states have such data... accuracy may be questioned, but the public utility commission usually has maps.)

They also demand the cities take on ALL and ANY legal expenses should anything come from their beta project. Comcast, Charter and TWC do not require that.

Right. They only require a monopoly (read: NO possibility of competition) in the form of a franchise agreement. And access to right-of-way, easements, and utility poles. And tax breaks. And the list goes on.

DataRiker
Premium
join:2002-05-19
00000
said by ITGeeks:


Google never changed anything, they simply said if you don't do it, nothing for you- and those cities still are NOT going to get anything for many more years to come- at least 5. It's been over 2 years now and KC isn't even done. Austin was announced about a year ago- still nothing really going on there.

As a Kansas City resident I have to call BULLSHIT. Kansas City proper has been largely done for a while. Now the build out is focusing on adjacent cities and suburbs ( My suburb was just announced and I signed up a week ago )
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO
I don't think it does suggest that, however I personally think they should.

Why? Because the incumbents have had decades and have received billions in "incentives" to expand and in some cases made promises to bring 45/45mbps and yet have failed to do so. Therefore, they can go eat crow while someone that is bringing about real connections can get their foot in the door.

morbo
Complete Your Transaction

join:2002-01-22
00000
Reviews:
·Charter

7 recommendations

said by dynodb:

"competition" entails special favors to one over the other.

Incumbent telco has received billions in taxpayer subsidies, surcharges and fees ($13 Billion for New Jersey alone), so excuse me as I laugh until I cry when I read about AT&T and Verizon complaining about Google Fiber getting special treatment.
elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY

Re: "Competition"

On top of that Verizon is backing out of their obligations and not finishing the build out. And Jersey caves...

So when we talk about "fair" sometimes the only way to enter regulated or oligopoly markets with a wide economic moat is to give preferential pricing/services/tariffs to up and comers so they can potentially compete, otherwise the old machine will keep them out with their $ and drop prices in a predatory manner.

The US is allowing these companies to become too big, and as they grow competition and service will go down, and prices will go up.

The US messed up big time. They should have coined internet a utility, and everyone would have FTTH (or the like) to the home, and at the "hut" open it up to competitors or semi-regulated rates. That would have solved the problem long ago, and drastically reduced the cost of multiple plant buildouts. It probably would have also killed bundling cable channels, and speed OTT adoption. Instead we live with the most expensive and least flexible, mediocre performing environment in the world. Great!

This is an infrastructure play, and a key US asset (or not). If we can't fix our infrastructure, all those under-performing middle class jobs will evaporate also.

Do you think I am not paying for Verizon and Adelphia/TWC building fiber networks 20 feet away from the end of my property? In addition I have NID from old Verizon (copper), TWC, and a Verizon ONT.
dynodb
Premium,VIP
join:2004-04-21
Minneapolis, MN
said by morbo:

Incumbent telco has received billions in taxpayer subsidies, surcharges and fees ($13 Billion for New Jersey alone), so excuse me as I laugh until I cry when I read about AT&T and Verizon complaining about Google Fiber getting special treatment.

The answer to subsidies that shouldn't have been offered in the name of false promises is to offer more subsidies and collusion?

JonSnow

@50.188.179.x

Re: "Competition"

Seems like that would amount to everyone operating with the same set of rules, no?
dynodb
Premium,VIP
join:2004-04-21
Minneapolis, MN

Re: "Competition"

Not really, no. And that's much of the problem- one provider gets a grant, a different one gets regulatory relief, yet another gets special right of way access You end up with multiple providers each getting different treatment.

Stop with the subsidies, "franchise agreements" (leave extortion to the mafia) and waivers that apply to one competitor and not the others. Let the consumers decide, and let the providers compete on a level field, allowed to sink or swim on their own merits.

JimMcCoy

join:2011-08-20
Jacksonville, NC

Re: "Competition"

Companies of this nature will not (cannot) operate and offer "cheap" consumer pricing without some form subsidy (municipal / state / federal). The up-front cost is too high, and investors will not (i.e. are not willing) to wait for long payback period.

So unless incentives are given, these businesses are DOA.

firephoto
We the people
Premium
join:2003-03-18
Brewster, WA

Re: "Competition"

said by JimMcCoy:

So unless incentives are given, these businesses are DOA.

Problem solved then.

If a business pays out to investors and still has profit besides that then they do not need investors. It's pretty simple, they have the money to operate, the money saved from not paying investors can go directly into the product or infrastructure.

The problem is that people who are really lazy hate to not make money by doing nothing but sitting back and waiting for a check.

The fact that it is more complicated than this is another problem. Huge business loves complicated processes, it sets the bar too high for anyone else on the outside to compete. The biggest lie? always saying they want smaller government.
--
Say no to those that ‘inadvertently make false representations’.

JonSnow

@50.188.179.x

1 recommendation

A level field would require the incumbents returning to taxpayers the financial benefits and infrastructure they gained through decades of subsidies, corruption, and other incentives. I can't say I'm entirely opposed to that: the last mile network is a natural monopoly, and managing that resource should be done in absolute fairness. Giving any private organization, incumbent or otherwise, a leg-up over an another is not a level playing field.
onthecake

join:2003-08-08
Kansas City, MO
People already complain that the roll out has taken 2+ years and its still going. Go ahead and put all that red tape back and add another 3 years. Uverse took 6 to complete in KC.
existenz

join:2014-02-12
kudos:2

Re: "Competition"

TWC and ATT are now significantly deploying additional fiber in KC thanks to Google cutting red tape. Google is starting from ground zero. When the cablecos laid cable decades ago, it took much longer than a couple years to cover cities.
ITGeeks

join:2014-04-20
Cleveland, OH

Re: "Competition"

Hardly. I have seen TWC rebuild cities from the ground up taking 6 months to a year to rebuild. And that was ENTIRE cities. Not a few neighborhoods.

DataRiker
Premium
join:2002-05-19
00000

Re: "Competition"

Never happened, at least not without existing plant. Please provide proof of this miraculous 6 month city wide build out.
ITGeeks

join:2014-04-20
Cleveland, OH
And its taken over a year to even start in Austin. So what's the point? Others have had to do it- Google is no different than forcing cities to give into their demands and pay for what they want.
onthecake

join:2003-08-08
Kansas City, MO
Reviews:
·Google Fiber

Re: "Competition"

Forcing... How so? Gun to head? Legal action?

Oh you mean we will offer better services and a lower costs for the population of your city if you allow us to get a blanket permit for work, use existing infrastructure right of ways?

Not sure why all the hate for a company trying to provide better service at a cheaper price. You are more than welcome to continue to use TWC/Uverse/whatever but stop your bitching about google getting the fast lane treatment when all these companies have had years and years to build out a better service.

DataRiker
Premium
join:2002-05-19
00000

Re: "Competition"

said by onthecake:

Not sure why all the hate for a company trying to provide better service at a cheaper price.

The only reason I can possibly come up with is he is a major investor in the competition?
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO
Yes, and uVerse is crap as far as broadband is concerned.

Bill Neilson
Premium
join:2009-07-08
Arlington, VA
When the rules are set at times by the ISP's, I think the "everyone should play by the same rules" argument gets less effective, imo.

alchav

join:2002-05-17
Saint George, UT
Reviews:
·ooma
said by dynodb:

The spirit of competition relies upon competitors playing under the same set of rules- not the local government granting handouts and a different set of rules for one over the other.

It's beyond absurd to suggest it's "giving in" to treat all entities equally, and that "competition" entails special favors to one over the other.

Competition and the same rules should exist, but under our present Infrastructure Communities and Cities must take a lead. FTTH or FTTP on a large scale takes a lot of planning in order to be implemented properly. Google Fiber has found out that it needs a Cities cooperation and precise planning to be successful. You just can't drop a Fiber Cable from the nearest pole and run it back to Mountain View. Fiber is going to be more expensive, and the Average Person has to decide for themselves if they want and need the more expensive Fiber or stay with the Cheaper Infrastructure. Of course this will all play into the planning stages of companies like Google.

anony

@74.103.216.x
Let's get this str8 these already company's that have been given state and federal money over the years think of the service fund. and all the leeway that was given to them for them to be able to build Out their networks. And the monopoly they've been given. and are yet still unable or out right unwilling to upgrade as there are able to bleed the customer's dry

tshirt
Premium,MVM
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Comcast

Recently, Seattle eliminated a law ... Not quite yet.

"Recently, Seattle eliminated a law that required phone companies (CenturyLink) to contact homeowners before they installed the cabinets on public easements. "
Actually just a talking point so far, the new Mayor claims he will propose it to the city council by the end of June (what's wrong with March, April or May? I don't know) but like most Mayor's full of "new" ideas only a few get past the talking stage and even less pass the council quid pro quo maze.

Bill Neilson
Premium
join:2009-07-08
Arlington, VA

Re: Recently, Seattle eliminated a law ... Not quite yet.

Good point. I apologize for that.

tshirt
Premium,MVM
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: Recently, Seattle eliminated a law ... Not quite yet.

Bill, a bit off topic, but were you previously from in the northwest? (I first saw your location as Arlington, WA (45 miles north of seattle) ) and then when I saw VA I was suprised to find a Brier Dudley fan (he has a good insight on many things in the tech business)

tshirt
Premium,MVM
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 recommendation

Seattle should look towards Portland...

"Seattle should look towards Portland to see how they deal with Google and their list of demands"
Every city should look at it, with eyes wide open.
Consider What they are giving up, in return for a "Maybe" from Google.
If you look at the direct costs and also consider all the money cities across the country WASTED jumping up and down waving their arms, in the original Google fiber "contest" maybe, just maybe you'd be better off seeing what your incumbent would do under the same terms.
It doesn't need to be branded GOOGLE to work.

Xioden
Premium
join:2008-06-10
Monticello, NY
kudos:1

2 recommendations

Re: Seattle should look towards Portland...

said by tshirt:

just maybe you'd be better off seeing what your incumbent would do under the same terms.

I might have missed the sarcasm, but giving incumbents money to provide upgrades doesn't usually work out well.

ieolus
Support The Clecs

join:2001-06-19
Danbury, CT

2 recommendations

LOL.. we have already seen what the incumbents do given decades and billions of dollars. Rien. Nada. Nothing.
--
"Speak for yourself "Chadmaster" - lesopp
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

2 recommendations

Perhaps, if the incumbents want to keep Google out, they should step up and commit to offering the same services as Google would BEFORE Google comes knocking. And I don't mean sending out a press release; I mean actually starting to build. After all, talk is cheap.

•••••••••
APG
Premium
join:2007-01-13

Everything old is new again

Go back a few years... insert "FiOS" for "Google Fiber"... we've heard it all before. The vast majority of people will see Google Fiber on exactly the same day they see FiOS... the 12th of Never.

Google is being worshipped for floating pipe dreams and making a fool out of most cities. Cable companies are being vilified for actually providing service to almost everyone in the country... rich, poor, urban, rural.

That makes sense.
existenz

join:2014-02-12
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Google Fiber

1 edit

Re: Everything old is new again

I'm getting near Gbit for effectively $70. They offer 5/1 for peanuts (and they selected lowest income areas of KC metro first). KC has additional boost in startups. Google has influenced other ISPs to offer Gbit for around $70. Google is testing cheap Gbit for small biz. What a fool KC is for going to bed with Google. &

»Review of Google Fiber by existenz

Edit: And now they are testing free public WiFi in KC, which will likely handle more load than any public WiFi out there...
»www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/n···page=all
WhatNow
Premium
join:2009-05-06
Charlotte, NC
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

The side of Google everybody forgets.

DSLReports went ballistic when AT&T said they would monitor the traffic over their ultra fast new network but seems to forget that is how Google makes its money. Google will see every 0 & 1 that goes across their network. The only way they will not read your data is if it is encrypted.

If the incumbents don't step up and Google becomes a defacto monopoly they could start to act just like the incumbents. I use Google products but I am not sure a city should should say what else do you want Google.

The best bet would be to separate the transport from the content. Have one fiber to each premise and then let any ISP or cable vendor connect to the ends. The fiber could be government (as last resort) or a private company that is only semi regulated.

GOOG

@72.133.224.x

Re: The side of Google everybody forgets.

Actually if you read their TOS I don't see any difference between any other ISP in terms of privacy of data. I've compared it to Time Warner and ATT's FYI