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 on the Google Fiber sweepstakes, please check out these stories:
- Google Jumps Into Gigabit FTTH
- My Town Wants Google 1-Gig!
- My Town Won't Get Google's 1-Gig
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable