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[Discuss] The broader impact of Google Fiber

This article suggests that even though only a tiny population has
benefited from Google Fiber so far, it has already had a larger effect
on boosting competition from existing providers and spurring them to
improve service.

Google Fiber's Ripple Effect

  The threat of superfast Google Fiber is causing other Internet
  providers to crank up their own offerings.

  ...evidence is emerging that the company has forced broadband
  competitors into offering dramatically better service.

  New data from Akamai, which delivers a hefty portion of all Web
  traffic, reveals a remarkable turn of events in Kansas. In the fourth
  quarter of 2012, Kansas saw the largest jump in average Internet
  connection speeds of all U.S. states compared to the fourth quarter of
  2011, with an 86 percent surge
  ...Akamai was able to do some forensic work to see just how small
  Google's service footprint was, and thus just how little it took to
  wake up the competition.

  According to Belson, in the fourth quarter of last year, Google served
  less than a tenth of a percent of the 830,000 Internet addresses that
  Akamai counted in Kansas, or fewer than 830 customers. "Ultimately, we
  didn't see enough unique IP addresses from [Google] that those speeds
  would have unduly influenced the overall [speed] calculation," Belson

[Akamai seems to be saying that there were so few Google Fiber users in
their sample size, that the boost in average speed for Kansas must be
due to existing ISPs improving their service. -tm]

  In December, Time Warner Cable increased speeds of some services in
  the Kansas City area, boosting its "turbo" service from 15 megabits
  per second to 20 megabits per second and its fastest service from 50
  to 100 megabits per second.
  Cable companies like Time Warner Cable and Comcast have the technical
  capacity to speed up service, and also plenty of room to lower prices,
  given the estimate from one analyst...that they typically make 97
  percent profit margins on Internet services.
  After Google announced plans for Austin, AT&T quickly announced it
  would match that effort with its own one-gigabit service, and Time
  Warner Cable sweetened its Internet plans with free Wi-Fi in public
  areas to existing customers.

Now, if we could just start seeing some of the benefits in markets where
there isn't a threat of Google Fiber.

Wired has an article covering some of this same ground:

and adds:
  ...smaller companies are also trying to head off Google before the
  company even makes an announcement in their communities. This week,
  for example, the Lawrence, Kansas-based internet provider Wicked
  Broadband began taking pre-orders for a residential fiber internet
  service with speeds to rival Google Fiber's. A gigabit connection will
  cost $100 a month.

Still, this company "is just 40 miles away from Kansas City," so the
Google effect is still quite localized.

And interesting that the ISP they mention is actually installing 4
fibers to each house..."The company is only using two for its service,
so it will be able to lease the other two to other companies, such as

Hmmm...where would we be today if franchise agreements for Comcast and
Verizon mandated that they install extra fibers and lease them to

Meanwhile, an incumbent provider in Provo, Utah - Google's most recently
announced Fiber location - is complaining that the city is treating them

  Now that Google Fiber's in town, CenturyLink suddenly has the gall to
  whine about fairness, and rather unsurprisingly Provo locals have
  absolutely no sympathy. Part of the beauty of Google Fiber is seeing
  anti-competitive bullies get their comeuppance after years of bribing
  politicians to protect their regional little uncompetitive fiefdoms.
  It's just a shame Google Fiber isn't in oh, about a thousand more


Tom Metro
Venture Logic, Newton, MA, USA
"Enterprise solutions through open source."
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