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February 19, 2013

Google Fiber: The Future of the Internet





Google (News - Alert) recently began rolling out Google Fiber in Kansas City. Google Fiber is a fiber-optic based network infrastructure that allows Google to deliver high speed Internet and television services to subscribers. By utilizing fiber-optic cable, Google is able to deliver Internet speeds 100 times faster than the speeds found in most parts of the country. While there are numerous options available for these service from other vendors, none of them can compete with the Internet bandwidth Google Fiber is able to deliver.

Kansas City competed with more than 1,100 communities around the nation for the privilege of having Google deploy a fiber-optic network in their community. The fact that 1,100 communities thought this was an important enough opportunity that they jumped through hoops is remarkable. After months of submissions, Google made the announcement that Kansas City was getting the nod.

In late 2012, it was announced that 180 “fiberhoods” qualified for service. This means that members of these communities will be eligible to purchase high speed Internet from Google for $70 or an Internet and TV bundle for $120. An even better bargain exists, free Internet. Residents who pay an installation fee are guaranteed basic Internet service, with speeds competitive to other offerings, for seven years. Subscribers paying the $70 or $120 rates will see the real benefits of the new network. In addition to superior speed, fiber-optic networking brings users quicker response times, also known as latency.

Other broadband technologies, such as satellite Internet, have high latency issues which diminishes the experience a user has while using the service. Google Fiber has decided to provide their service as a truly unlimited service to their customers. In other markets users have to be aware of bandwidth caps or pay penalties for going over. By removing the cap, users can take full advantage of the service.

Business owners and creative entrepreneurs have been taking advantage of the Internet for more than a decade. High speed Internet has spread into homes, businesses and even our mobile devices. The major limiting factor for many start-up businesses looking to deliver content to users has been the cost of bandwidth. Google Fiber is offering unrivaled performance at a price point that is unavailable in other markets. This is attracting entrepreneurs who are looking to deliver Internet based services. Websites and other Internet based services that stream music or video require vast amounts of bandwidth to deliver their products to their clients. In the past, the cost of operation was a major obstacle to start-up companies. For other businesses, the cost reduction of switching to Google Fiber is something akin to a tax break. 

Internet providers have been gatekeepers, limiting availability and setting pricing structures that are prohibitive for start-up businesses. Once artificial barriers such as dated pricing structures and unreasonable usage limits are removed these start-up ventures and the creative minds behind them can go into overdrive. Google apparently has a different vision of the Internet. This is a vision of a better and faster Internet for everyone. Over the coming months and years it will be interesting to see who the next “Facebook (News - Alert)” or “Groupon” is. In the late 1990’s, the Silicon Valley tech boom pumped millions of dollars into the economy of California. As innovators are unleashed in Kansas City history may very well repeat itself.




Edited by Brooke Neuman
 
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