If you are like us, for the past few years you have been rabidly following the development, the implementation, the road blocks and the growing success of Google Fiber. With a growing presence in the Kansas City area and now a growing sphere in Austin, TX, Google Fiber is begining to branch out to various parts of the country supplying consumers with 1 gig connections that are putting pressure on other Internet/broadband providers locally and nationally. But the question remain, with the promise of 1 gig speeds, what is the true importance of Google Fiber? Is it the connectivity speed and what we can do with it or is it the impact 1 gig connections are having on regional broadband providers?
The Importance of a 1 Gig Connection
Here is the thing, as noted by Gigaom writer, Stacey Higginbotham: “You may be wondering why you, in particular, need a gig. The answer is that today you don’t.” Ms. Higginbotham, who covers broadband development around the country with nothing short of excellence, hit it right on the head. As of right now, you don’t need a gig. You don’t. Why? As it stands today the Internet doesn’t need a gig to supply it’s information to a screen near you. Yet, the paradox of not needing a gig right now leads into needing a gig later on. Again, as smartly noted by Ms. Higginbotham,
“The internet today transfers digital bits, but it’s rapidly moving to the place where it will transfer physical atoms. Thus, it won’t be about information, but about physical goods….For us to move beyond the information age we need to be able to take out ability to transfer information reliability and at low cost for granted. Fiber networks offering a gigabit allow us to take data caps, congested networks and service providers that don’t want to lose their triple play revenue out of the equation.” – Gigaom, 4.6.13
The reason you need a gig of transfer is not because you love looking at multiple animated gifs in one space or your ability to comfortably stream Netflix in your bedroom, while your son plays a light intensive game via PS4 in another your kitchen and your significant other streams video content heavy news in the living room – no. The reason you need a gig of transfer and more is to fulfill what will come next. The need is to take the Internet from where it is today and move it into it’s next phase of existence. To “say goodbye to the information age and embrace what’s next.”
The Real Meaning of Google Fiber
Beyond the ability of 1 gig and beyond connections to push the information age into whatever is next to come, the main sticking point of Google Fiber is found in the pressure it’s putting on other broadband providers. With more and more communities gaining access to Google Fiber, regional broadband providers like Verizon, Time Warner, Comcast are being forced to increase their broadband offerings at a lower cost. Yet, as you would imagine, the aforementioned providers are not going down or, well, updating their broadband services without a fight. Point in case, as noted in a blog written by our parent company, FortressITX, sure enough legacy broadband supplies have been fighting against Google Fiber and its kin via the courts.
“In 2004, the Lafayette utilities system decided to provide a fiber-to-the-home service. The new network, called LUS Fiber, would give everyone in Lafayette a very fast Internet connection, enabling them to lower their electricity costs by monitoring and adjusting their usage. Push-back from the local telephone company, BellSouth Corp., and the local cable company, Cox Communications Inc., was immediate. They tried to get laws passed to stop the network, sued the city, even forced the town to hold a referendum on the project — in which the people voted 62 percent in favor. Finally, in February 2007, after five civil lawsuits, the Louisiana Supreme Court voted, 7-0, to allow the network. From 2007 to mid-2011, people living in Lafayette saved $5.7 million on telecommunications services.”
The message here is simple: Google Fiber is bringing competition into an industry of legacy entrenched interests. Google Fiber, 1 gig connectivity at a lower cost, is providing a healthy dose of market competition to providers like Verizon, Bell South, Comcast, Time Warner etc. In other words, Google Fiber is bringing capitalism back into the broadband market.
This is the true importance of Google Fiber. Healthy competition in the broadband marketplace.
What are your thoughts on Google Fiber? Are you excited about the possibility of having 1 gig broadband? If you live in a city where Google Fiber already exists, what are your thoughts on it so far? Let us know in the comments.
To read pt. 2 of our running series on Google Fiber, click, “On the Growing Impact of Google Fiber”.