However, Google may be able to make the numbers pencil better with a fiber to the node (FTTN) network in these unserved and underserved areas, mixing in aerial fiber cable plant where the cost of burying fiber conduit is overly expensive. Using the FTTN model described in this November 2008 white paper, Google would bring Internet “trunk” connections to neighborhood nodes. Property owners could join together in a telecom cooperative – compared to a condominium in the paper -- to build the final fiber segment to bridge the gap from their premises to the neighborhood nodes. The cost of the construction for those projects in rural areas can be financed by low cost, long term loan funding offered by the federal Rural Utilities Service.
The paper notes the property owners would economically benefit given research showing adding a fiber “tail” to a residential property increases its marketability, thereby allowing property owners to recoup and potentially profit from any upfront investment they would have to make to fund the cooperative and get wired up.
It’s worth noting that although disclaiming official representation of Google, the white paper titled Homes with Tails: What if you could own your Internet connection? is co-authored by Derek Slater, a Google policy analyst. Back when Slater wrote the paper, Google wasn’t in the fiber infrastructure business. Now that it is, Google management would be well advised to dust off Slater’s paper and give it another look.