Google's Fiber Project Hits a Snag

An update on Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s 1-Gig jig in middle-America kicks off Thursday's cable hot sheet.

  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s getting a taste of what it's like to be a facilities-based service provider. Its ambitious FTTH network build in the Kansas Cities is getting bogged down as Google negotiates fees to string its fiber lines to public utility poles -- exactly the sort of thing that cable operators and other incumbent broadband service providers have historically had to deal with, reports The Kansas City Star. Ironically, Google originally picked the region in part because it believed these negotiations would be swift and allow it to get its fiber network off the ground quickly. An official with the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities told the paper that the final details of the access agreement should be wrapped up "within the next week or two." (See Google's Fiber Engineers Descend on Kansas City and Google to Plant More Kansas City Fiber.)

  • L2 Communications President and CEO Kraig Beahn is in hot water for allegedly tapping into Mediacom Communications Corp. 's plant in Albany, Ga., and reselling voice and Internet service to a business customer. Here's WALB's story:

  • Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) has completed an all-digital migration in Central Maine aided by one-way Digital Terminal Adapter (DTA) devices, which Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is relying on heavily as it continues to reclaim valuable analog spectrum. TW Cable subs can obtain as many DTAs as they need for free until next December, according to WABI-TV. (See Comcast Starts to Kiss Analog TV Goodbye.)

  • Former Cox Communications Inc. and Charter Communications Inc. CTO Chris Bowick has joined the advisory board of Triage Partners LLC , a firm that provides certified technicians to cable, broadband and telecom companies.

  • Mark Cuban's HDNet is being rebranded as AXS TV in mid-2012 as the billionaire adds talent agency CAA and Ryan Seacrest as investors, notes Businessweek. With Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) coming on board, the channel is poised to expand distribution to 35 million homes.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

  • Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:45:08 PM
    re: Google's Fiber Project Hits a Snag

    But I did enjoy seeing Insight chief Michael Willner gloat about this a bit on his blog, noting: "Welcome to the cable/broadband business, Google!  Now you're getting a small taste of just how complicated our business can be."

    But on a more serious note, he does get into Google's choices here, that it can pay the kind of fees MSOs do to attach lower on the poles or go higher where the electrical gear is... he notes that most telecom prohibit the latter because it could be dangerous. JB


    AESerm 12/5/2012 | 5:45:08 PM
    re: Google's Fiber Project Hits a Snag

    And they're just talking about fiber strands, nothing underground yet? I'd guess that there's more fun to come here. 

    paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:45:08 PM
    re: Google's Fiber Project Hits a Snag

    There may be distribution boxes in the neighborhoods which will require access to the Right Of Way.



    paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:45:03 PM
    re: Google's Fiber Project Hits a Snag

    Verizon picked all the original FiOS locations because they could use ariel plant.  It is a lot cheaper than trenching and faster.

    Cable cuts have not been anywhere near as big a problem as you describe otherwise every storm would cause all power and all phone to be lost in those same locations.  It is impacted more than buried plant but MOST of the time it comes through storms just fine.



    nickr2 12/5/2012 | 5:45:03 PM
    re: Google's Fiber Project Hits a Snag

    First off they are building a fiber plant above ground. That is a huge mistake just because of all the problems that can go wrong with the cable when it is exposed to the wheather and the other headaches of being above ground. Every time a sizable storm comes through they will have cable outages. And if a bigger cable get cut then it will be a minnimum of $20,000 to fix it. (1 dollar per foot + $50 to splice each strand twice + whatever you are paying the contractor to be on site). And if it is a 432 fiber that gets cut the expences on that are about about $50,000 each time. Also you have alot of customers that will be upset for the outage time.

    If you want to build a good fiberoptic network you need to build it underground. Even though it will cost about 3 times as much to place it, it is worth it in the long run because customers won't be unhappy about the outages, and you also won't be paying $20,000 - 100,000 a month to refix your network.

    nickr2 12/5/2012 | 5:44:59 PM
    re: Google's Fiber Project Hits a Snag

    I apologize for making it sound like storms are the only thing that will take down a network, but there is allot more than just storms. On average you will have to do about 100 times the amount of maintenance to an aerial plant as compared to underground, and that isn't an exaggeration.

    I am also used to South Dakota weather. And I know people who go out to 50 different outages a month, and half of them are from some sort of weather related problem. Now that doesn't mean that each one of those outages is a cut cable, but it is just general maintenance that needs to be done on aerial plant to make it work. Also the older the plant gets, the more things will go wrong with it.

    My main point is that if Google wants to get their maximum return on investment, and if they want to have a better plant that they can use for a long time without replacement. Then they should bore the fiber underground saving them all the headache that comes along with any type of aerial plant. Also trenching is a bad idea because it makes a lot of people angry and the cost of clean-up for the project would be amazingly high for an in-town trench.

    Also the reason phone and power doesn't go down as often is because phone is generally on a protected network, and power gets redirected from other sub-stations. So a single point of failure isn't a big problem for the majority of places in the U.S. for those two types of plant.

    nickr2 12/5/2012 | 5:44:58 PM
    re: Google's Fiber Project Hits a Snag

    from access to access point is protected on a ring, for example an OC12, and all of the phone lines that go to the houses ride on that ring. so if a drop goes down then yes that service will go down, but if a mainline goes down then the traffic will be redirected to the other part of the ring. This is not true with all networks, but the good ones are set up like this.

    paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:44:58 PM
    re: Google's Fiber Project Hits a Snag


    Umm...phone is on a protected network?  It is a single wire to your home.  Just like the single fiber for FTTH.  So, I am not clear what you mean by a protected network.  If you mean that POTS is powered from the CO where FTTH is locally powered and backed up, I understand what you mean.

    I am not clear that Google is actually going to be OPERATING this network long term or just building it turning it up and then planning to give it to Kansas City.  So, they can avoid long term operations costs.

    Now what would be hysterical is if AT&T went and said - "Well, heck there is this FO network in KC make them the carrier of last resort."  That would blow Google's little game right there.



    nickr2 12/5/2012 | 5:44:57 PM
    re: Google's Fiber Project Hits a Snag

    Thats good to know, i was under the impression that alot of networks have set up services like the one i was describing since fiber started to become more and more commonly used. But it would make sense that alot of the older networks wouldn't do that because it would take too much money to redeploy using that setup.

    Thanks for the info.

    paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:44:57 PM
    re: Google's Fiber Project Hits a Snag


    Only in SOME cases.  Many of the DLCs in RBOC territory are deployed Point to Point Fiber even if they use SONET transport (like a Litespan).  And that is ONLY for things behind a digital loop carrier.  In cities, you will find very few rings like you describe.  They are mostly in Occam and Calix territory because the time to repair a fiber cut 30 miles from the CO is so long.



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