How does Fiber fit into the overall Google scheme?
Google, as a whole, wants the user experience to be as good as possible. For instance, it can be frustrating when a YouTube video buffers. We have engineers here who are wholly focussed on making page load times faster. We want you to get the search results you want as quickly as possible, or that YouTube video instantly, no matter how big the file is. There is only so much we can do on the engineering end, and that’s one of the reasons we wanted to get into Fiber to begin with. We knew we could make a big difference in users lives’. Speed matters!
Just like Chrome, which is really quick comparatively, we also want to deliver the best speeds possible. We’re focussed on Fiber to the home, but we’re also coming up with a business product. We’ve heard from a lot of small businesses that they also want Fiber, and we’re working on that.
Let’s say Kansas City is totally built out, or as much as it will be. Do you have a long term plan for presence? Will you keep an office there?
We have a team on the ground now comprised of marketing people and customer service employees. We have a Fiber space, which is a retail location, where residents can come in and check out the devices, enjoy Fiber, and get the experience first-hand. A gigabit is a really hard thing to explain, so we want people to really get excited and understand just what they have the opportunity to get hold of. We staff that Fiber space with product specialists who can answer any of their questions.
The local presence is really important to us. We don’t really have any plans on changing our current goals or mindset when it comes to community presence.
Google Fiber has a TV service, which is different from Google TV. What is going on there? That seems so strange.
Google Fiber TV is different, and has its own content agreements. We have about 200 channels, and a different interface. You can record up to 8 hours of content, and the hardware is meant to really show off the gigabit speeds. Google TV is just a device, rather than working with content providers as Google Fiber TV does.
How do you guys feel about other providers getting into fiber (as AT&T so famously did after Google announced Austin would be getting Fiber), essentially copying the blueprint you laid out?
We think it’s great. Really. If more providers built fiber, and did so in a good way for the consumer, we’re happy to see that. It’s great for users, and great for the future of the web.
If more providers built fiber, and did so in a good way for the consumer, we’re happy to see that.
We’ve heard that some other providers in Kansas City and in Austin may have lowered their prices, and may start offering their own gigabit service in the future. Both of these things are ultimately great for users, and for the future of the web.
Is there a build-out plan? Is it really just the cities that want it most, or do you have certain cities in mind to offer Fiber to?
The reason we started with Fiber is that we were talking to the government and broadband providers about the national broadband plan. Internally, the folks on our policy team realised it was one thing to talk about broadband, and talk about how broadband speed for the average american can improve, but it’s another thing to take action and do something about it. So, we put out an RFP, asking cities who may be interested in having Fiber built out in their city to apply. We got over 1,100 applications from cities, and about 200,000 applications from individuals. That’s how we ended up servicing KC.
Austin was a close runner up, and Councilwoman Morrison really kind of hounded us for Fiber after we announced Kansas City. She was adamant that Austin would still make a great Fiber city, and she’s right. Based on her tenacity, and that of the citizens, we decided to bring Fiber to Austin next. We go where the demand is. We think the future is fiber, whether that’s Google or not.
So, what about my neighborhood? Can I at least get a Fiber pole?
Sure. We’ll get right on that.
Now that I’ve been promised a Fiber pole (holding my breath!), I’ll have to report back on just how awesome Fiber is. For now, we’re left to admire those cities that have (or are getting) Fiber.
Fiber is a natural progression for Google, and means to jumpstart a technology that will become more important as our digital lives progress. We’re increasingly dependant on connection speeds and devices, and Fiber provides the best experience, often at the best price. The trickle-down benefits are immeasurable, and it’s refreshing to hear about such a groundswell of excitement in Kansas City.
We hope it keeps going, and whatever direction Fiber takes Google, that the consumer ends up benefitting. The most interesting byproduct may be other providers lowering their cost, or getting involved with fiber. The Nexus line of phones helps shake-up carrier control, and Fiber may have the same effect on Internet service providers. Whether or not we get Fiber at our homes or business, that’s a benefit none of us would refuse.