Thursday, April 18, 2013

Google chooses Provo, Utah, as next city to receive search giant's ultra-fast Internet service | Fox News

Google chooses Provo, Utah, as next city to receive search giant's ultra-fast Internet service | Fox News: The rollout is an expensive undertaking and gamble for Google, which hopes it will drive innovation and pressure phone and cable companies to improve their networks. Google benefits when people spend more time online.

The "pressure phone and cable companies to improve their networks" rationale is  repeatedly made in media accounts to explain Google's fiber to the premise (FTTP) builds in some metro areas of the United States.  But is it really true, notwithstanding AT&T's pyrrhic posturing in Austin, Texas?  It implies the incumbent cable providers and telcos are somehow reluctant to improve their networks.  But upgrading their networks is how they can capture more customers and sell more services.  If doing so generated sufficient revenues and profits, they would do it without hesitation, Google or no.  The issue is their business models don't have sufficient funding for large scale capital expenditures on new plant and equipment.  And no one has yet devised a way to more cheaply deploy fiber to the premise Internet infrastructure -- of which an estimated 70 percent of the cost is labor.

Another major issue overlooked in media accounts of the Google FTTP builds is they don't address the large gaps in Internet access that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission in 2012 estimated leave about 19 million Americans offline.  The reason they don't is Google shares the same limitations of the investor-owned business model as the incumbent cablecos and telcos that cannot profitably serve areas that remain disconnected and still accessing the Internet via obsolete, circa 1993 dialup connections and satellite Internet.

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