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Google to Build 1Gbit Fiber Internet Across US

Gordon Kelly

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Search, email, news, browsing, smartphones, operating systems and social networking - you'd think that might be enough to keep Google's hands full for now, but no - it also wants to be an ISP...

In an announcement somewhat out of the blue (just how Google likes them) the company used its official blog to declare:

"We're planning to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States. We'll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We plan to offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people."

The motivation behind this? Primarily experimentation. It wants to lay this network in order to create a large test bed and see just what it is possible to create. Specifically Google says there are three key things it has in mind:

  • Next generation apps: We want to see what developers and users can do with ultra high-speeds, whether it's creating new bandwidth-intensive "killer apps" and services, or other uses we can't yet imagine.

  • New deployment techniques: We'll test new ways to build fiber networks, and to help inform and support deployments elsewhere, we'll share key lessons learned with the world.

  • Openness and choice: We'll operate an "open access" network, giving users the choice of multiple service providers. And consistent with our past advocacy, we'll manage our network in an open, non-discriminatory and transparent way.
If you're living in the US, or have travelled there recently, you may know this isn't Googles first dalliance with networking. The company provides a number of open, free WiFi hotspots around the country (notably in airports) - and made an ultimately unsuccessful bid to buy a slice of the 700MHz spectrum in 2008. Had it succeeded, that could have feasibly led to a Google 3G network.

So what next? Google is looking to identify interesting communities. It asks local government to contact them and members of the public to put forward cases for any specific areas they may have in mind. The cut off point for responses is 26 March. From here, who knows?

Dear Google, I would like to suggest an area you may find interesting for your tests. It is progressive, but overcrowded and has watched helplessly as ISP after ISP fails miserably to provide performance and value for money... don't even get me started on customer service. Google, you may have heard of this area: it's called England.

Links:

Google Fiber for Communities

Official Google Blog Post

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