Saturday, September 29, 2012

Google's Kansas City fiber build doesn't change underlying infrastructure economics

This Kansas City Star article discusses the implications of Google's rollout of fiber to the premise (FTTP) infrastructure in Kansas City.

The newspaper interviewed Josh Olson, a technology industry analyst for Edward Jones & Co.  Olson sees the Google fiber deployment as a template to boost user demand for higher bandwidth and speeds.  If new applications that can run on this gigabit speed capable infrastructure emerge, it would increase pressure for incumbent cable and telephone companies in other markets to upgrade their networks. However, Olson goes on to dismiss that notion, noting incumbent telcos and cablecos can make money off their existing services.  Of course they can when these are the only wireline services available to most U.S. homes and small businesses unless their communities build their own fiber networks operated by local governments or consumer cooperatives.

And as industry analyst Dave Burstein points out, Google's fiber deployment in a single U.S. city cannot change the underlying economics for incumbent providers that must earn a rapid return on investment to keep their shareholders happy -- a business model that directly conflicts with the long term ROI associated with high cost infrastructure projects.  Plus telecommunications company shareholders are accustomed to receiving high dividends -- money that can't be directed toward CAPex.

“The problem is it costs a lot of money to climb all those poles and dig all those trenches to make it happen,” Burstein told the Star. “You don’t make money in three years, but you make money in 10 years."

Read more here:

1 comment:

InfoStack said...

Google's KC approach is clearly horizontal. They are dropping the bar on marginal cost on almost every front. And nobody is talking about the potential for central subsidization via institutional/corporate VPNs and ad sponsorship. Don't you think they would be applying some of their principles form on-line search and Droid to this product?

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