Google Set to Showcase Fast Internet [New York Times]
Google has long prided itself on its ability to create products that provide innovative features - recently making strategic decisions to enter markets outside of its core competency in search. Microsoft is looking on as Google attempts to create a cloud-based business productivity product in Google Docs that can compete with Microsoft Office and Google's CEO left Apple's board of directors after it became clear that Google's Android mobile operating system was being groomed to compete directly with the iPhone. Yesterday, Google announced that it is going to enter yet another market with the intent of shaking things up. Google plans to become an ISP.
Google's announcement indicated that it is searching for one or more communities where it plans to build a fiber to the home network to provide 1 Gbps broadband service directly to residential customers. Though Google operates a small scale wi-fi network in its hometown of Mountain View, California, this would be Google's first foray into providing broadband on a large scale. The company plans to roll out a network that will serve between 50,000 and 500,000 customers.
Calling its plan an "experiment" designed to spur innovation in the U.S. broadband market, Google is seeking communities to nominate themselves for selection as the testbed for Google's network. Speaking of spurring innovation, Light Reading's Jeff Baumgartner has written an interesting post on how Google's plans may create additional investment in the improvement of the cable broadband product -- not that we needed much help as strong wireline and wireless competition are plenty of motivation for that.
Google hasn't revealed how much it plans to invest in this plan, nor is it indicating how much it will cost consumers to connect to the network other than it plans to price its product competitively. It appears that the company plans to move quickly on this project, selecting areas where it plans to build the network within the next few months.