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Google Fiber Shifts Into High Gear

Alan Breznick
2/19/2014
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Showing that it's much more than a mere science experiment, Google Fiber aims to bring its trademark 1Gbit/s broadband service to up to nine more US markets, including some of the biggest and fastest-growing areas in the nation.

Google Fiber Inc. , which is operating in the Kansas City and Provo, Utah, areas and plans to expand to Austin, Texas, by the summer, spelled out its plans Wednesday. In a blog post on its website, the company said it's weighing 1 Gbit/s launches in some promising markets: Atlanta; San Jose, Calif.; San Antonio; Phoenix; Salt Lake City; Charlotte, N.C.; Portland, Ore.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Raleigh/Durham, N.C. (See Google Fiber Proceeds in Provo .)

In all, Google Fiber is targeting 34 cities in the nine metro markets. The Google unit said it plans to decide where to build its FTTH networks next by the end of the year.

"We've long believed that the Internet's next chapter will be built on gigabit speeds, so it's fantastic to see the momentum," Milo Medin, vice president of Google Access Services, wrote in the blog post. "And now that we've learned a lot from our Google Fiber projects in Kansas City, Austin, and Provo, we want to help build more ultra-fast networks."

As this map from Google Fiber shows, the FTTH provider is eyeing markets across the US, especially in the SE and SW.
As this map from Google Fiber shows, the FTTH provider is eyeing markets across the US, especially in the SE and SW.

Notably, the nine markets selected by Google Fiber have a few things in common. Nearly all of them are in the Southeast or Southwest, meaning they should be relatively free of winter weather hazards that could hamper fiber network construction. And even Portland, the northernmost market on the list, doesn't get much snow or ice.

For another thing, several of the markets, like San Jose and Raleigh/Durham, are well-established technology hubs that would particularly welcome 1Gbit/s speeds. Plus, most of the markets are in states where labor unions are weak, which should result in lower construction and labor costs for Google Fiber.

Coincidentally or not, the nine markets are mainly areas where AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is the dominant telco. Among the major US broadband providers, AT&T generally offers the lowest maximum broadband speeds, though it is upgrading its network in Austin to deliver 1Gbit/s speeds. CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) and Frontier Communications Corp. (NYSE: FTR) operate in the other markets. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), whose FiOS Internet service offers maximum speeds of 500 Mbit/s, is conspicuously absent from the list. (See AT&T's Austin GigaPower Debuts at 300 Mbit/s .)

No such pattern is evident on the cable operator side of the ledger. Google Fiber, which already competes against Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) in Kansas City and Austin and against Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) in Provo, would mostly go up against one or the other in the nine new markets, as well. The sole exception is Phoenix, where Google Fiber would take on Cox Communications Inc. for the first time.

In his blog post, Medin wrote that his unit will "work closely with each city's leaders on a joint planning process" over the rest of the year to "map out a Google Fiber network in detail" and "assess what unique local challenges we might face." Google Fiber will "work on a detailed study of local factors that could affect construction." The cities "will complete a checklist of items that will help then get ready for a project of this scale and speed." For instance, Google Fiber expects the cities to produce maps of local conduit, water, gas, and electricity lines and help it access utility poles.

Medin warned that Google Fiber will not necessarily go forward in all the targeted cities, for reasons ranging from landscape issues to construction headaches to planning snafus to regulatory red tape. But he said even the cities that didn't make the grade would benefit from the comprehensive planning. "While we want to bring fiber to every one of these cities, it might not work out for everyone. But cities who go through this process with us will be more prepared for us or any provider who wants to build a fiber network."

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

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Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Light Beer
4/3/2014 | 4:47:57 AM
Re: "High Gear"?
pcharles, 

Yes, parents --in theory-- should know how to handle their children's wants. However, more than not advertising works against parents. 

In some European countries like Finland, for example, advertising cigarettes and alcohol is not permitted. The reasons are obvious. If you decide to buy something that is not good for your health it's your own responsibility and there is no advertising contributing to it. 

In the same way, there could be a similar law for advertising products that are not good for children. If parents decide to buy those products to their children it would be their own responsibility instead of the influence of advertising. You see my point? :)

-Susan 
pcharles09
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pcharles09,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/30/2014 | 12:24:19 PM
Re: "High Gear"?
I don't disagree with what you said at all. It's possible.

"they should attend parent school, remember?"

This point is an interesting one. Probably worthy of a new thread elsewhere but this is probably the most important factor when discussing advertising to children. If the parents don't know how to handle theire children's wants, whether good or not, that's probably the biggest part of this story.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/28/2014 | 3:46:58 AM
Re: "High Gear"?
pcharles, 

I thought of mentioning about that, too, in my previous comment. Then I forgot. :( 

More times than not those situations trigger conflict between parents and children, especially when the children are still too young to comprehend the marketing tricks. 

A kid can be highly influenced by advertising and he may want something that is not healthy, not good for him, or too expensive for the parents' pocket. When the parent refuses to buy the product there is a conflict created.

Not all the parents know how to deal with these situations (they should attend parent school, remember?), the issue can create other problems, or the kid can develop negative feelings as he sees his parents as the bad guys who don't want to buy the great things the marketers want him to have. That, in a nutshell. 

-Susan
pcharles09
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pcharles09,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/27/2014 | 10:39:37 PM
Re: "High Gear"?
The thing to remember is that even when kids are marketed to, their parents still have the final say since they don't have the $$ to buy things on there own.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/25/2014 | 3:58:03 AM
Re: "High Gear"?
pcharles, 

"They're still a huge market to focus on."

That's exactly the problem. They are easy influenciable. They are easy manipulated.

They don't have the capacity yet to decide what is good, or what is bad for them. Easily you can take advantage of that.

Is that ethical? They are kids. They don't have the knowledge of what you are really doing through your deciving advertising. 

-Susan 
pcharles09
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pcharles09,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/24/2014 | 9:23:21 PM
Re: "High Gear"?
"I think targeting advertising to kids is not ethical"

That's an interesting statement. They're still a huge market to focus on. What about it do you think is unethical?
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/19/2014 | 2:04:31 AM
Re: "High Gear"?
pcharles, 

Well, I wouldn't blame the kids. I don't see anything wrong in them focusing on the game, which is what interest them, not the forced advertising that advertisers put in front of their nose. 

Most of that advertising is subliminal, as much of any other advertising.

Long gone are the days when people paid attention to commercials when watching television. Mostly because television is almost dead. Also, because there are plenty of other things people can do now in that time, like checking their text messages, or social media. 

So, if you ask me, I can't care less if kids can't recall not even one of the adverts they see when playing games on their mobile phones. I think targeting advertising to kids is not ethical.

-Susan
pcharles09
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pcharles09,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/18/2014 | 7:55:07 PM
Re: "High Gear"?
Isn't it crazy how over the past decade, we've become so de-sensitized to all the fluff advertisers put in front of us. Have you ever watched a kid playing a game on a mobile device. If you ask them what even one of the ads displayed was about, they would most likely NOT be able to recall even one.
pcharles09
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pcharles09,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/18/2014 | 7:52:13 PM
Re: Actual competition?
You're right. Many of Google's "hits" were in Beta stage long into what could be considered heavy production periods. I'd be facetious if I said I wouldn't want to try out their free Fibre connection. But I doubt we'll get a whiff of it anywhere near the Metro NYC area anytime soon.
mhhf1ve
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mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/3/2014 | 1:07:09 AM
Re: Actual competition?
Seven, google fiber is going to the underserved broadband markets -- where telco incumbents rule. Google probably has some excess dark fiber that it picked up and it just so happens to exist in these markets, too.
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