Google's Demands of Cities Are The Much Lesser of Two Evils
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.
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:
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
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?
"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.
said by existenz:And that's how it should be, but the post suggests that Google should get special treatment because... well, just because.
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.
said by ITGeeks: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.)
Google demands the cities pay for the designs and to locate all of the lines under ground.
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.
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.
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| |said by dynodb: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.
"competition" entails special favors to one over the other.
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.
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said by JimMcCoy:Problem solved then.
So unless incentives are given, these businesses are DOA.
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.
said by onthecake:The only reason I can possibly come up with is he is a major investor in the competition?
Not sure why all the hate for a company trying to provide better service at a cheaper price.
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.
Re: Seattle should look towards Portland...
said by tshirt:I might have missed the sarcasm, but giving incumbents money to provide upgrades doesn't usually work out well.
just maybe you'd be better off seeing what your incumbent would do under the same terms.