Light Reading

Who's Got the Hots for Google Fiber?

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

Welcome to the broadband and cable news roundup, T.G.I.F. edition.

  • About 60 percent of qualified homes in the Google Fiber footprint in the Kansas City region are interested in the service, which features a US$70 per month 1Gbit/s broadband offering and a pay-TV package, according to a survey by Ideas & Solutions! Inc., a firm run by cable vet Glen Friedman. The study notes that about 30 percent of potential subscribers in eligible "fiberhoods" (areas with 250 to 1,500 households) have ponied up the $10 pre-registration fee. Historically so-called pay-TV "overbuilders" penetrate about one-third of the market over time, but Google Fiber's national cache coupled with its grass-roots marketing efforts and demand-based construction approach has created an early level of interest that's "unprecedented," says Friedman, who's late of DirecTV Group Inc. and Time Warner Cable Inc. The survey did find one area of concern with Google Fiber -- that some consumers are worried they won't get all their favorite channels. Of those that did pay to pre-register, 40 percent intends to get broadband from Google Fiber, but get TV service from another supplier. The survey comprised 532 interviews with consumers in Kansas City fiberhoods aged 18 to 74, and another 771 that were conducted nationwide for "benchmarking purposes" for parts of the survey that sized up the perception of the Google Fiber brand. (See Google Preps Its New Year Fiber Flow and Google Fiber Starts to Hook Up Customers.)

  • Motorola Mobility LLC's behind a new six-tuner, 1-terabyte video media server for Verizon Communications Inc. FiOS TV that will serve as a high-end whole-home DVR that will also run HTML5-based apps and the "leanback" YouTube app tailored for TV screens. That device, called the The VMS1100, should be arriving "soon," reports ZatzNotFunny, noting that the companion box, dubbed the IPC1100, will connect to the VMS1100 via MoCA are is on its way to Energy Star certification testing.

  • Liberty Global Inc.'s UPC Nederland unit has added 21 new apps, including Facebook and Moodlounge (funky screensavers), to its IP-connected Horizon gateway/service.

  • A Gizmodo editor is not impressed with the demo it saw of Netflix Inc.'s new Super HD content, which is being made available only to ISPs that hook into company's private content delivery network (CDN). "The video's drab colors are bland and boring. The content is grainy and cold compared to the awesome beauty UHD TVs are capable of," the reviewer wrote. According to Netflix, Super HD requires an Internet connection with at least 5Mbit/s download, and 7Mbit/s "for our highest available video quality." (See Netflix Connects With Cablevision.)

  • Dermot O'Carroll, the Rogers Communications Inc. engineering vet who retired last year, is keeping his hand in the industry after landing a board slot at broadband traffic management specialist Sandvine Inc.

  • CableLabs confirmed a report by Multichannel News that it has hired Wayne Surdam as VP of communications. Surdam, a former Hewlett-Packard Co. exec, rejoins Phil McKinney, another ex-HP'er who was named president and CEO of CableLabs last June. Surdam, who started on Jan. 1, is based in Silicon Valley. CableLabs is headquartered in Louisville, Colo., but is in the process of relocating its small San Francisco facility to a larger one in Silicon Valley, which will house its expanded "innovation team" and an initiative aimed at strengthening cable's ties with the region's tech startups. (See CableLabs Sets Its Sights on Silicon Valley.)

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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    User Rank: Light Beer
    1/11/2013 | 5:57:42 PM
    re: Who's Got the Hots for Google Fiber?
    Google did something quite interesting by asking residents to indicate their interest in getting Google Fiber. This way if someone accuses Google of cherry picking neighborhoods, etc. the company can point to some real world data about why they did what they did. Not sure if this is quite what some people were hoping for, though. When Google made the offer to bring fiber to a market, some people probably thought it would be the whole market -- and it appears Google may not hit everywhere. Then again we don't know the economics on this. If Google is subsidizing the cost of providing service, perhaps it wouldn't to be fair to ask why they're not covering the whole city (assuming they don't, which still appears up in the air.)
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    1/11/2013 | 5:09:09 PM
    re: Who's Got the Hots for Google Fiber?
    Google does not buy from Telco hardware suppliers and at the same time competes with Telco's, thus accelerating the Telco hardware supplier's demise. -á -áI wonder what the evil empire will do when it realizes that people spend most of their time watching-áFacebook-áand its allies using their fiber.-á
    Jeff Baumgartner
    Jeff Baumgartner,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    1/11/2013 | 4:47:15 PM
    re: Who's Got the Hots for Google Fiber?
    Google Fiber also gets to start fresh as a service provider, so there's an auto -áhoneymoon period that comes with it, -ábut have to agree that Google's done a great job spurring interest in the service... but Friedman also warned that Google's challenge now is meeting the expectations that it's setting.-á The service launches are now just getting underway, so we'll have a better fix on that part of it by the Spring. JB
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