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Does Google Fiber Have Renewed Euro Ambitions?

Ray Le Maistre

WARSAW -- FTTH Conference 2015 -- Is Google looking to bring its gigabit broadband rollout model, which has been so influential in the US, to Europe? That's a big talking point here in Warsaw at the annual fiber access industry gathering organized by the FTTH Council Europe.

Among the 3,000 names registered to attend are three from Google Fiber Inc. , according to a list seen by Light Reading, with two of the Google attendees sporting the job titles of "technical program manager" and one "global supply chain" executive.

It's not clear if the Google staffers are actually here -- being registered is one thing, actually turning up is another -- but there's no shortage of information about broadband access technology developments to be had at North American industry events, so it seems most likely that the Google team is here to gather insights into European markets and the opportunities to be had on this side of the Atlantic.

That's pure conjecture on my part, of course, and you can be sure I'll be asking the Google reps about their visit if I see them on the show floor here. But this isn't the first time the web services giant has taken a look at European broadband options. (See Eurobites: Google Fiber Eyes UK.)

It's an interesting time to be checking out the market potential for truly high-speed fixed broadband services in Europe as operators such as Orange (NYSE: FTE), Bouygues Telecom and Numericable-SFR invest in next-generation access technology and Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) push on with their FTTH rollouts (after years of cautious development) and markets such as the UK and Italy start to become more interesting from a fiber rollout perspective. (See CityFibre Aims for BT's Wholesale Business, Fiber Sizzles in Spain as Orange Targets Jazztel and Eurobites: Boffins Unveil 7-Core Fiber.)

And as we mentioned earlier this week, the European market looks ripe for gigabit broadband momentum. (See Time for Gigabit Europe?)

For the latest on urban network innovation, visit Light Reading's dedicated Gigabit Cities content channel. And be sure to register to attend Light Reading's Gigabit Cities Live event on May 13-14 in Atlanta.

Might Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) light a fire under that market in the same way it has done in the US? It would certainly make for a more dynamic and interesting market. (See Google Continues Gigabit Expansion.)

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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2/12/2015 | 9:36:16 AM
Re: Be careful out there
They were pretty vocal IIRC about no expansion plans the last time this rumor popped up in 2011, but that of course might just mean absolutely nothing. I'd be curious which countries they'd deem worth targeting if they do decide to go international?
2/11/2015 | 8:45:58 AM
Be careful out there
They hold their secrets pretty close to the vest over at Google Fiber -- because, you know, Google is entitled to know everything about everyone else, but no one is allowed to know anything about Google. If anyone from there dishes any dirt, who knows what might happen to you? You have the address of the safe house in Warsaw, right? 
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