Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Google's wireless service leaves bandwidth rationed business model undisturbed

Google's soft launch today of its Project Fi mobile wireless offering won't be a game changer for homes and small businesses unfortunate enough to be located outside the limited footprints of landline Internet service providers (or not in a Google Fiber "fiberhood") and reliant on wireless premise Internet service such as Verizon's 4G Installed service offering.

While Project Fi does allow the creation of wireless hot spots at a customer premise, it retains the metered pricing schemes of existing wireless providers wherein end users must purchase monthly bandwidth allowance levels, referred to as "bandwidth by the bucket."

That makes the service a poor value for premises service. It's easy to blow through the bandwidth allowances and end up with a large bill via software updates and video streaming. Parents in homes with teenage children who stream video such as Netflix have been shocked by jaw dropping bills. Or who do class work online, which has been spotlighted by Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel as a key issue in America's Internet access disparities.

The Project Fi Plan and Pricing FAQ states:

Do you offer an unlimited data plan?
No, we do not offer an unlimited data plan. We believe you should only pay for the data you use.
 And you'll pay for it, all right.

If Google truly wishes to disrupt the existing wireless business model, it should build out fiber closer to neighborhoods and homes lacking fiber to the premise service and use it to backhaul really robust and not bandwidth rationed wireless service. This would be an interim step in a longer term effort to deploy fiber to the premise connections in these areas.

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