This announcement is little more than a promise to build out fiber to the home for some unknown set of communities. Interested localities are asked to submit RFIs as Google plans where this ridiculously fast network will actually be deployed. There also isn’t much in the way of details on the other end point, opposite the newly connected premises. Since Google is talking about innovation and competition, I suspect it may be to some of the mythical dark fiber Google supposedly acquired years ago.
This move is only surprising in its timing.
This project will build on our ongoing efforts to expand and improve Internet access for consumers – from our free municipal Wi-Fi network in Mountain View, CA, to our advocacy in the 700 MHz spectrum auction, to our work to open the TV “white spaces” to unlicensed uses.
Supporting the principles of competition, growing the market for everyone and network neutrality would suggest that such a bold move might have been made earlier. Although from a cost perspective, I suppose it makes more sense this way. The other, wireless efforts probably had lower capital costs. In the absence of too strenuous backlash, maybe they only now feel bold enough to make a bigger investment.
Like many of the search giant’s recent bold moves around improving access, both in availability and speed, this will undoubtedly raise the hackles of many privacy activists and advocacy groups. Those details about the other end of the fiber connection, hopefully forthcoming, will be key in determining whether Google will essentially gain full access to all of the served customers’ bits or will be building pipes simply to connect consumers to their own choice of either ISPs or back bone providers or both.