Interesting strategy. Google followed up its semi-interesting – if semi-redundant – Buzz announcement yesterday with a much bigger one today. Google is getting into broadband. The Mountain View-based company announced today that it is going to build an experimental 1 Gbps broadband network. “We're planning to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States,” according to Google. “We'll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We plan to offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.”
Google is building the network with several goals in mind:
Next generation apps. With speeds that high, developers should have a field day.
New deployment techniques. Google will test new ways to build and deploy broadband networks, promising to share its findings.
Openness and choice. The network will be open, offering customers the choice of their ISP.
There’s two sides to this. Imaging a future where Google owns the infrastructure as well as the internet is scary. On the other hand, the speed is sweet.
According to Akamai, the U.S. is currently 18th in global broadband speed with an average of 3.9 Mbps per second. Obviously a jump to 1 Gbps would giant, perhaps the major breakthrough of its tech generation.
While this is a test, if Google can develop and deploy this infrastructure in a timely way, internet use could change drastically in the next ten years. If the company is as open and transparent as it promises, this would be great. If not, and Google becomes the owner of a nation’s broadband infrastructure, it will mark one giant leap to the Darkside for a company which is already raising multiple concerns.