I'm pleased to be joined once again by Colin Dixon, senior partner at The Diffusion Group, for the 143rd edition of the VideoNuze-TDG Report podcast. In this week's podcast Colin and I discuss the prospects for Google Fiber, and specifically whether incumbent pay-TV operators and broadband ISPs should be "very, very afraid," as a report from industry analyst SNL Kagan asserted earlier this week.
Google's innovative spirit and willingness to spend heavily on Google Fiber is terrific, but as I said last week, I think its big challenge will be penetrating beyond a core early adopter audience. While uncapped gigabit broadband service is indeed compelling, more mainstream audiences will weigh its benefits against the costs of its missing features, being a guinea pig for an unproven service and increasing their monthly bills for TV and phone service, among other things.
In a sense, Google Fiber feels to me a little bit like Time Warner's Full Service Network pilot in Orlando in the mid-90's, with its high deployment costs, disruptive innovation, untested consumer premise equipment, lack of scalability and massive hype. That's not to say Google Fiber will end up like FSN as a complete flameout, but it's still not clear to me what the real impact of the project is going to be. I think incumbent operators need to be vigilant, but there's no real cause for fright, at least not yet anyway. Colin is a bit more bullish on Google Fiber, though I suspect that's because he's so enticed by the idea of a having a gigabit connection himself (being the early adopter that he is!).
Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 2 seconds)