Google Delays Fiber Picks

Almost 1,100 cities want in on the Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) sweepstakes, but the search giant now claims it will need more time to sift through the wannabes and decide which cities will get to tap into the company's supersonic, experimental network.

The company was expected to announce its picks by the end of 2010, but revealed today on the Google Fiber blog that no one should expect an announcement until "early 2011."

"While we're moving ahead full steam on this project, we're not quite ready to make that announcement," Google VP of access services Milo Medin wrote.

The revelation of Medin's move to become head of the Google Fiber team is news in itself. Medin, who joined Google this week, is well known in cable circles. Before co-founding M2Z Networks Inc. in 2005, he was the chief technology officer at @Home Corp., an MSO-backed high-speed Internet service provider that counted Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), Charter Communications Inc. , Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Cox Communications Inc. , Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI), and Insight Communications Co. Inc. among its customers before it was unwound and filed for bankruptcy in 2001.

Google fired up its fiber hype machine in February, announcing it would deploy a trial FTTH network that would serve at least 50,000 users, and up to as many as 500,000. Google called on interested municipalities to say why they should get Google Fiber, eliciting a flood of responses, and a few creative pleas.

Why this matters
Well, for starters, this is Google, after all. Beyond that, Google's intentions here are to test the limits of broadband speeds and applications, still claiming that its pilot implementation will be "100 times faster than what most people have access to today."

But Google's test of "open" FTTH grids could apply some pressure on cable MSOs and telcos that are trying to extend the life of their existing networks before having to spend gobs of money pulling fiber all the way to the home.

And there's still a regulatory angle: Google announced its original fiber plan when the government was starting to release stimulus funds for broadband builds in unserved and underserved areas. Fast-forwarding to today, Google's effort comes into play as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) tries to move forward on its ambitious National Broadband Plan.

For more
For more on the Google Fiber sweepstakes, please check out these stories:

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:15:55 PM
re: Google Delays Fiber Picks

What Google's telling me is... my town (Highlands Ranch, CO) still has a chance! JB

Dmohney 12/5/2012 | 4:15:46 PM
re: Google Delays Fiber Picks

Why this matters is that Google has once again launched a PR gimmick on smoke and mirrors to get the phone companies to jump through hoops to its tune.

You think it's concidence that Verizon is demoning 10Gig Symmetrical GPON? Or it has (finally) gotten around to rolling out 150 Mbps symmetrical service?

This is the same Google that "bid" on wireless spectrum and "lost." Uh hum.



spc_markl 12/5/2012 | 4:15:45 PM
re: Google Delays Fiber Picks

I do not see how they could be suckers when Google has been upfront about the "experimental" nature of the project.  All of these municipalities had to put a plan together -- and maybe at least a few of them will decide to build these networks themselves -- which is really the whole point of the project anyway.  I also do not think that Verizon's actions have much to do with Google's initiative, especially in terms of greater capacity, since the plan only calls for up to 1G.

As far as the wireless spectrum was concerned, there must have been a legitimate interest at the time because it would not be in Google's interest to bid up the price of any public network.

Mark, Telecom Pragmatics

Dmohney 12/5/2012 | 4:15:44 PM
re: Google Delays Fiber Picks

That was the company's CLEARLY STATED goal.

And they got it. Without having to spend a dime on spectrum.


Dmohney 12/5/2012 | 4:15:44 PM
re: Google Delays Fiber Picks

Let's see--

1) Google sends out a single press release

2) Municipalities fall all over themselves to get noticed, going so far as to rename towns.

3) After months of not saying anything, Google goes and hires Milo Medin and says "gee, we're working on it, honest."

Now, go back and look at the RF spectrum "bid."

To borrow a phrase from G. Gordon Liddy, "Oh ye suckers..."

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