Google to government: Let us build a faster Net [CNET News]
After announcing an inititative to build a residential gigabit fiber optic network in 2010 and choosing Kansas City as the testbed for the network earlier this year, Google appears interested in replicating the Kansas City project elsewhere if it can acheive some public policy changes. Kevin Lo, Google's general manager of access, heads up the Google Fiber project, and spoke to a group of providers at the World Broadband Forum in France this week, telling the audience that Google chose Kansas City because it removed some regulatory hurdles and that Google has an agenda for regulatory reform that could pave the way for additional investments.
Lo mentioned three specific changes policy changes - reforming access to public rights of way for fiber deployment, reforming access to utility poles for fiber deployment and creation of special service districts that would remove municipal zoning restrictions - that he believed would spur more investment in faster broadband.
Having spent 37 years in the cable business, I know this is quite an ask. Local governments will certainly object to any Federalizing of their oversight of their rights of ways and utility pole owners will have equally strong feelings about losing control over attachments to their property.
Notably, Lo didn't reveal Google's plans for fiber beyond Kansas City, so enactment of any of the proposed reforms wouldn't necessarily increase the changes of Google fiber in other locales. Lo also indicated that Google expected to see a return on its investment in the Kansas City network.