Sunday, December 30, 2012

Google Fiber expansion unlikely to solve America's incomplete infrastructure problem

As I recently blogged, market failure dogging the U.S. telecom infrastructure that continues to leave millions off the Internet grid calls for new business models.  Nearly six years ago, I speculated big Internet content amalgamators flush with cash (i.e. Google, Yahoo!) could might acquire legacy telcos and cablecos and upgrade their incomplete and inadequate infrastructure with their own.  That post wasn't fully on the mark because it didn't include the possibility that the content players' "big play for the pipes" as I termed it would be to overbuild the incumbents with their own infrastructure as Google recently did in a single American city: Kansas City. 

This Wired piece is sparking speculation that Google might in fact be planning an effort to expand its proprietary fiber to customer premises infrastructure supported not just by customer service charges but also by its own content, similar to the incumbent cableco business model.  "If it turns out Google Fiber helps Google sell more (and more valuable) ads and content," the Wired article notes, then building out more fiber would support Google's business model.  However, the article notes that the cost of doing so would strain even Google's vast economic resources, leaving the U.S. with what President Barack Obama described in his 2012 State of the Union Address as an "incomplete high-speed broadband network."

Another recent article posted at ZDNet points to the same conclusion.


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