Scott Cleland is a policy consultant paid by incumbent ISPs to sell his client's unfiltered Kool-Aid to reporters and politicians, and is frequently called to Washington as an "objective" industry analyst, despite his obvious role as little more than a paid parrot. You might recall that when we last saw Scott Cleland, he was busily beating up on Google for not investing in broadband infrastructure
, despite billions spent on global fiber runs and storage capacity.
With Google Fiber launching last week
, Cleland is back to do his masters' bidding, penning a piece for the Daily Caller
(who fails to note he's a telco mouth for hire) poo poo'ing all over Google's recent 1 Gbps service launch. What's Cleland's problem with Google Fiber? Aside from his disgust at the "vile socialism" involved in Kansas City actually working with local government to improve broadband
, Cleland apparently believes that because Comcast and Verizon now offer 300 Mbps tier in some markets (at $200-$300), Google Fiber just isn't necessary:
...in hyping Google Fiber’s 1,000 Mb per second offering as being “100 times faster than today’s average broadband,” Google ignores that consumers can buy 300 Mpbs broadband in the marketplace today from Verizon (and soon from Comcast and others), and that consumers choose not to buy faster available speeds because they do not yet see their utility or value.
Thus “100 times faster” is a misleading apples-to-oranges comparison of Google’s only super-fast speed offering to the lower-speed tier offerings consumers have chosen to buy. Tellingly, Google also ignores that Verizon and Cable Labs are already working on delivering bandwidth performance ten times faster than Google Fiber. Competition works.
Competition works so well
, that most people in the United States are lucky if they can get 5 Mbps downstream for $50-$60 from just one ISP. Amusingly, Cleland's central argument appears to be that because consumers aren't jumping at paying $200-$300 for a broadband connection (assuming they can get it), that must mean there's simply no real interest in faster broadband. He kind of just skips over
the fact that Google is offering symmetrical 1 Gbps service for just seventy bucks, and a 5 Mbps connection that's essentially free (after a $300 installation fee). It's the best selective logic telco money can buy.
While you could certainly argue that Google Fiber remains more hype than substance at this moment, there's little doubt that the deployment is getting people excited about what's possible
. That's something Cleland's clients at AT&T and elsewhere have failed miserably at, focusing most of their attention on turf protection, eliminating competition, and smoke and mirrors.
In fact, the excitement
surrounding Google Fiber's entry into the market clearly illustrates these companies should probably throw more money at giving consumers what they want, and less money at parrots.