Should Google Fiber be in every home?

by: J. Angelo RacomaJanuary 16, 2013

Fiber Optic cable

If you like how Google Fiber’s fast and speedy service is being implemented in test cities across the U.S., you might envy the Chinese, which are requiring homes within the vicinity of fiber facilities to have access to the infrastructure. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology recently released a new government policy requiring new homes constructed within a mile of fiber optic channel networks to be equipped and fiber ready. This will give a boost to the “Fiber to the Home” initiative in the country, meant to expand domestic fiber broadband service networks. Chinese telecommunications companies are also expected to benefit from this potential growth worth in the trillions of yuan.

In 2012, the second largest telecommunications company, China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd. Added 10 million Chinese households to the their FTTH projects, and the Economic Information Daily also reported that these fiber network projects are expected to reach an additional 40 million families by 2015.

The policy implementation is set to start on April 1, 2013. Affected home construction guidelines also require that connections should include services from various telecommunications companies within the area. This would allow residents a choice in broadband service providers. The report, however, does not state any parameters for projected internet speeds for the fiber network, but rather just the implementation of access facilities itself.

Fiber in the U.S.

In the U.S., there are several initiatives by telecommunications companies and cable service providers for high speed broadband use, and some have been putting up fiber-optic networks as well. However, not all fiber optic services are created equal.

The most publicized initiative has been Google Fiber, which offers a 1 Gbps fiber optic internet connection for homes. Google Fiber has started pilot implementation in Kansas, and although plans are afoot for a nationwide implementation, this would have to wait. Investment and securities firm Goldman Sachs estimates the cost for Google to lay a nationwide fiber-optic network to be over $140 billion. Analysts also estimate the cost to install fiber network internet connections to 50 million homes to be $70 billion.

Verizon has been implementing a fiber-optic network of their own, and it has been estimated that they have spent $15 billion to connect 15 million homes to the FiOS fiber network. The company offers a 50 mbps bundle, which can be upgraded to 100 mbps. AT&T also has a fiber-optic network, but at slower speeds.

Google Fiber’s top-tier 1 Gbps internet connection is the fastest residential-use connection, so far. Previously, 1 Gbps installations have been in universities for research purposes, and in some government and military offices. Although Google does plan for a nationwide rollout, it is doubtful that they would offer coverage for remote rural areas. Like laying copper cables, the cost of laying a fiber optic cable becomes economically feasible if there are enough prospective subscribers in the area. However, it is easy to commit to an investment in an area with a large population, as the cost for deployment would be defrayed by the number of subscribers.

Should Google Fiber be in every home, then? Should local governments mandate fiber optic facilities to be accessible to new homes in areas where it is available?

  • Should Goggle fiber be in every home? The answer is a big YES.

  • satsmine2k4

    Google fiber in every home YES

    This would put comcast and Verizon Fios out of business- am cool with that

    Fios is ok but Comcast is poor: they charge a heck load of money and i get 1mbps download speeds from 6pm to 12am on my “High speed” Internet connection which normally gives 30mbps

  • Tim F


    If they’re worried about the funding – they should just make it a public sub-company and release an IPO. Between Google’s history and the demand for cheaper, faster, more reliable internet, they shouldn’t have much trouble raising a good portion to (at least) get it started.

  • sammu


  • Whilst the concept of Google Fiber (s.p.) in every home is extremely alluring, A.A. has missed out a vital point. We are all well aware of the massive growth occurring in the Chinese construction industry, with entire ‘ghost cities’ being built to prepare for future population growth/migration. This ground-up approach allows for the Chinese to plan ahead, and build in the service ducts needed for future expansion, in many places these ducts run under the pavements, rather than the roads, to allow for easy access by contractors, without having to disrupt traffic flow. However, we in Western nations have infrastructure that has been added on-to as we have needed to expand. Water, sewerage, telephone, and power lines have all been added as after-thoughts in many older towns and cities; look at the spider’s webs of telephone cables, weaving their way across the sky in many cities. At the moment, many ISPs lay fibre-optic cabling through existing cable TV ducts in the street, leaving many areas unable to receive these upgrades without major investments into infrastructure. Whilst many of us would agree that it would be great to have such services right into our homes, would we be willing to pay for the additional infrastructure, or put up with the upheaval of the construction work required to install it?

  • 1ceTr0n

    In Soviet Russia, fiber homes you!

  • Larkhillv

    I want Google Fibre in Philly!!!

  • Our government should stay out of it. Let’s maintain capitalism and avoid communism please. We will have fiber in every home soon enough. This is a consumer based economy and the demand for fiber is rising. More than one company will likely step up to meet that demand.

  • Eric

    Google Fiber should be in every home, But with the option to cancle and use the Fiber-Optic cables in your house for competing services. But should it be mandated, no, thats taking it to far.

  • Zero0

    Sort of.

    Fiber optics should be in every home where practical. Not necessarily Google’s — we don’t want a monopoly. Ideally, there would be at least 2 fiber providers in cities and suburbs. Unrealistic, but only a bit more unrealistic than a national fiber network. Only 10% of the cost of such a network is actual cable, so if 2 companies were to install fiber at the same time, they’d split the cost of labor. Each company would lower start-up costs, and consumers would have a choice. Throw in some government deregulation (permits for multi-ISP fiber installations would be approved quickly and cheaply), and we’re set.

    For rural areas, it would be ideal, but it’s totally unrealistic. Send out some high speed wireless broadband. If the place is really in the middle of nowhere, an unlimited LTE-Advanced network might be a realistic option.

    • Ideally we would have 4 or 5 national companies competing for urban nationwide Fiber to Home network.
      For rural have 1 or 2 companies expand to different urban areas to bring Fiber to rural schools and towns and then build a LTE-Advance network for the more rural areas.
      Then have some deregulation like you said that would be ideal, but that’s dreaming.

  • yes please!