Google Tweaks 'Fiberhood' Data

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has updated some data in a way that puts 73 so-called "fiberhoods" (areas with 250 to 1,500 households) a bit closer to their pre-registration goals as Google Fiber closes in on the deadline for its first-ever sign-up rally in the Kansas Cities.

Likewise, the decision also means that some already-qualified fiberhoods will get service sooner than they did before Google fixed the data.

Google noted in a blog post late last week that it tweaked the data after discovering that its current set was not completely accurate, particularly around vacant lots, abandoned homes and large apartment buildings. That meant some fiberhoods weren't being counted correctly as area residents continued to fork over $10 to pre-register for the service, which will be headlined by a 1Gbit/s data service and a TV service bundle. Depending on the area and how difficult it will be to build out and install fiber, specific fiberhoods require 5 percent to 25 percent of households to pre-register. (See Google Fiber to Fix Apartment Snag.)

The deadline for Google's first fiber rally is Sept. 9, so it's in the home stretch. Google Fiber will compete in the Kansas Cities, primarily with Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and SureWest Communications (Nasdaq: SURW) and, to a small degree, with Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK).

Google tweeted Tuesday morning that 117 fiberhoods have reached their goal, just four more than the 117 it reported over the holiday weekend, so the pace has slowed a bit amid the looming deadline.

By Light Reading Cable's rough count, about 80 fiberhoods are still below their pre-registration goals five days before the phase I deadline. Google has plans to extend fiber to more areas in a second rally, but recently warned people in this first round that this may be their first and only opportunity to get Google Fiber. (See Crunch Time for Google Fiber and Google Fiber Promises Phase II Rollout .)

Google's build-by-demand model is allowed under the sweetheart franchise deals it signed with Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo. But the company's approach hasn't escaped criticism. Some residents complained recently in The Kansas City Star that the fee-based pre-registration process is unfair to the area's poorer neighborhoods. And there are some questions about Google's long-term commitment to the project. Per its deal with the cities, Google can terminate its agreements two years after it starts building the networks. (See Google Fiber's Drive for Density and How Long Will Google Keep the Fiber Flowing? )

Set-top fees
Google has also clarified that its TV service won't be a free-for-all, at least when it comes to set-top boxes. The first TV box and Nexus 7 tablet, which can be used as a fancy remote control, do come with the service, but additional TV boxes will run $5 each per month for 24 months, and come a basic remote. Customers can also buy additional set-tops for $120 each.

Customers can also cancel service anytime before Google starts construction in a given fiberhood, though Google will hold on to the $10 pre-registration fee. Customers are also on the hook for the $300 construction fee if they cancel service during the first year.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

nasimson 4/22/2015 | 9:36:49 AM
re: Google Tweaks 'Fiberhood' Data @shygye: Excellent point shygye. Any ideas on how one can break this cocoon? I badly need to.
shygye75 12/5/2012 | 5:22:10 PM
re: Google Tweaks 'Fiberhood' Data

That would suggest that this is little more than a fairly sad publicity exercise than a sound and reasoned way to develop a business.

shygye75 12/5/2012 | 5:22:10 PM
re: Google Tweaks 'Fiberhood' Data

If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to count it, does it qualify as a fiberhood?

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:22:10 PM
re: Google Tweaks 'Fiberhood' Data

Guess not. But makes me wonder if they were expecting a bit more uptake by this part of the process if they are giving some of these fiberhoods a bit of a boost as the deadline nears.  JB

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:22:09 PM
re: Google Tweaks 'Fiberhood' Data

Well, they do have that two-year out, so if things don't go well... But still interested to see how this build-by-demand model works out as this thing finally gets off the ground and we get beyond the novelty aspect of it. JB

AESerm 12/5/2012 | 5:22:06 PM
re: Google Tweaks 'Fiberhood' Data

Speaking of Googlenomics, I'm wondering if how the decision to discontinue the Google TV Ads platform plays with this deployment. In any case, I'd expect Goog eventually to mine the data they acquire here, much as AT&T's AdWorks is with its U-verse set-tops. 

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:22:04 PM
re: Google Tweaks 'Fiberhood' Data

i certainly would not put it past them, especially if they truly want to experiment with this, though that idea still puts people on edge even if the data is collected  anonymously. 

and this just in from the Twitters... 125 fiberhoods have reached their pre-registration goal as of Wed. morning. JB


craigleddy 12/5/2012 | 5:22:03 PM
re: Google Tweaks 'Fiberhood' Data

Perhaps the operational difficulties in KC, the end of Google TV Ads, and even the Facebook IPO disaster are indicative of a larger trend and failing mindset. Is the arrogance of Silicon Valley meeting the harsh realities of business economics?

Or, as you like to say, are they all just chasing each other down the same rabbit hole?


shygye75 12/5/2012 | 5:22:02 PM
re: Google Tweaks 'Fiberhood' Data

There's also the sad reality that just about every organization gets to a point where it insulates itself from market realities and convinces itself of its innate genius. The key to longer-term success is to break that cocoon of internally perceived excellence to see what's really going on in the world.

Sign In