Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Google Project May Spur Broadband Competition - NYTimes.com

Google Project May Spur Broadband Competition - NYTimes.com

The take away from this story is it's highly unlikely incumbent telephone and cable companies will upgrade and build out their infrastructures to provide better Internet connectivity and serve more premises.  It makes more business sense for them to preserve the status quo and harvest whatever profits can be had from their existing cable plants. Particularly given the fact that the legacy incumbents pay fat dividends to their shareholders. Google pays none.

The NY Times piece postulates it will take an third party like Google to break the inertia.  But Google thus far is pursuing fiber builds in only a few metro areas of the United States including Kansas City and Austin and lacks a strategy to serve the nearly 20 million Americans forced to live off the Internet grid because the incumbent telcos and cablecos won't serve their homes.  These areas will have to rely on good old fashioned American self help and build fiber to the premises infrastructure operated by local governments and consumer cooperatives as was done in much of the nation in the 1930s and 1940s for electricity and telephone service.

There's also the sheer enormity of the financial challenge that would test the resources of even the deepest pocketed players like Google.  In 2009, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission projected it would cost $350 billion to universally deliver 100 Mbps or faster Internet connections to all American homes and businesses.  That's more than the sum of Google's 2012 revenues.

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