Google launch a 1Gbps fibre broadband 'experiment'
Google are moving in to the Fibre broadband market with what they call an 'experiment' which will deliver 1Gbps fibre broadband at competitive prices to at least 50,000 and up to 500,000 people in the US. Google say they are looking to help make Internet access better and faster for everyone and hope that this project will achieve three specific goals.
- Next generation apps: We want to see what developers and users can do with ultra high-speeds, whether it's creating new bandwidth-intensive "killer apps" and services, or other uses we can't yet imagine.
- New deployment techniques: We'll test new ways to build fibre networks, and to help inform and support deployments elsewhere, we'll share key lessons learned with the world.
- Openness and choice: We'll operate an "open access" network, giving users the choice of multiple service providers. And consistent with our past advocacy, we'll manage our network in an open, non-discriminatory and transparent way.
Whilst this experiment is based in the US, it may still yield benefits for us in Britain if it provides new innovative ways to build fibre optic networks. The main issue holding back a full fibre deployment in the UK is the estimated cost. BT cannot justify it to shareholders and the government has many more pressing concerns, so we are left with a stop gap solution where we are using fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) with VDSL2 which can't meet the speeds the industry thinks we'll need in a few years' time, whilst other countries are racing ahead with fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) deployments. Rolling out FTTC as an interim measure does present a risk of decreasing the marginal returns of full FTTH rollout, which may put back the day when every home in the UK is connected directly onto a fibre optic network. Equally, others could argue that by demonstrating the benefits of faster broadband services, it is more likely that applications will become available that make use of such fast networks, driving demand for faster broadband.