In yesterday's post, "Google's Fiber-to-the-Home Plan Could Cost $750 Million or More" I sounded a skeptical note about the company's intention to build out 1 gigabit/second experimental broadband networks to between 50,000-500,000 U.S. homes. Yesterday I was a guest on the Emily Rooney radio show which airs on WGBH 89.7 FM in the Boston area, and I provided further detail on why I think Google's plan is suspect. (Click here to listen; you need to select the Feb. 11th show and my segment starts at about the 21 minute mark.)
While Google's plan has stirred up a lot of conversation, I've yet to talk to anyone who believes it will have much actual impact. I know this will sound cynical, but if Google's real intent with the gigabit experiment is to promote the company's net neutrality position and influence Washington broadband policy-making, I think a far better use of its resources would simply be to spread significant lobbying largesse around to key legislators. Regrettably, that's a much more direct way of getting Washington's attention. Building physical residential fiber networks is very heavy lifting, even more so for a company that's operated strictly in the ether. And the potential cost of this project is daunting, even for Google. If anyone has some real insights into what Google's thinking here, I'd love to hear them.
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