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Google's Far-Reaching Fiber Experiment

11 февраля 2010

Google will roll out an experimental high-speed broadband fiber network. The Internet giant claims the service would demonstrate broadband speeds in excess of 1 Gbps, 100 times faster than anything currently available now. If possible, those kinds of speeds, as well as Google's involvement, could have implications for every aspect of the broadband initiative, including wireless.

In a blog on its Web site, Google said that the initial fiber network will target specific cities, serving a total population of 50,000 to 500,000 people. The company put out an official request for information (RFI) to help identify interested communities. Google said it will welcome responses from local governments, as well as members of the public until March 26, announcing target communities later this year.

"Our goal is to experiment with new ways to help make Internet access better and faster for everyone," stated the blog.

Google said it will experiment with next-generation applications to see what developers and users can do with ultra high speeds. The project also will include new deployment techniques and offer an "open access" network, giving users the choice of multiple service providers.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski applauded the move in a brief statement today. "Big broadband creates big opportunities. This significant trial will provide an American testbed for the next generation of innovative, high-speed Internet apps, devices and services. The FCC's National Broadband Plan will build upon such private-sector initiatives and will include recommendations for facilitating and accelerating greater investment in broadband, creating jobs and increasing America's global competitiveness," Genachowski stated.

The real question, however, appears to be whether Google has decided to lend a hand out of frustration with the FCC. Google has long advocated for a testbed fiber network as part of the FCC broadband initiative but to no avail.

Craig Settles, an author who covers the broadband initiative in his forthcoming book, "Fighting The Next Good Fight," says that Google could act as both a catalyst and complement to the FCC's final objective.

"In the same way the stimulus money has attracted literally hundreds or a couple thousand entities to come out and build a network, I think Google, through strategic investments, can achieve that same end," Settles says.

While Google most likely doesn't want to be a provider, it is in the company's best interest to get the ball rolling, Settles says, noting that Google's hands-on involvement in the space can do nothing but speed the process.

It's still early days as to how much it will affect all aspects, both wired and wireless, of the broadband world. Settles says the kinds of wired speeds Google is talking about can only mean easier extension of wireless broadband services.

To be sure, it is a shake-up of all things broadband related. Benoit Felten, principal analyst for Yankee Group, says Google has once again changed the game in a very big way. "One thing's for sure: This is a big kick in the anthill. And it likely has broadband network operators shaking in their boots," Felten said in a statement.

If anyone doubted Google's impact on the world today, the company made international news just hours after its broadband announcement. Coming on the heels of Google's ongoing feud with China, Iran's telecommunications agency said it will enact a permanent suspension of Google's Gmail service.


Источник: Wireless Week

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