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In 2011 Google launched Google Fiber, a new super-fast internet network that would eliminate buffering and make slow loading times a thing of the past. They have started slow, and are currently only available in Kansas City, Austin, and Provo, Utah, but recently Google announced that it had invited 34 more cities to determine how they could benefit from the service. A massive rollout seems scheduled to happen sometime in the next few years.
So what does Google gain from becoming a broadband provider?
Most analysts will rattle off a long list of possible factors that may be influencing Google’s decision to invest in Fiber. Becoming an ISP provider might serve as a profitable business on its own, and it also gives the company another avenue into people’s homes and all the data that comes with it. It may also put pressure on other service providers to embrace high-speed networks, a move many analysts believe would support Google’s future internet applications.
Google has been working on the next generation of internet application software and most of those applications require high bandwidth, so it’s only natural that they help pave the way for that infrastructure in the face of indifference from current internet providers. The company won’t single-handedly build that infrastructure for everyone, but by investing in affordable, high-speed internet, they are showing people and other providers that it is possible, and stepping up the pressure on companies like AT&T and Comcast.
It seems to be working. Since the launch of Google Fiber, most providers have begun fast-tracking their rollout of fiber internet services to major cities across the US. Google’s planned large expansion will keep them working hard to provide faster and more affordable internet to people across the country just to compete.
Having faster internet at home and work makes sense for everyone. Moreover, the availability of city-wide Wi-Fi made possible by Google Fiber makes any city more attractive to tech-savvy individuals and IT businesses. In addition to enhancing telecommuting options and connectivity among the workforce, quite a number of startups begin in basements or garages using residential services. An expanded fiber network would definitely help foster new startups in areas where fiber is provided, especially in the IT and technology sectors.
Whichever way this plays out, it’s in Google’s best interests to make sure that there’s healthy competition among broadband service providers, which will ensure prices are kept down and motivate infrastructure providers to push the envelope of quality and service.
There was a debate about whether Google was actually committed to invest what’s needed to build such an extensive fiber network, but those doubts were laid to rest with the announcement of 34 additional cities. The conversation changed from a science experiment to real business and more people are starting to pay attention.
Kansas City was the first city chosen for Google Fiber in 2011, and has experienced a burst of startup activity since the rollout. Internet giants have been finding new ways to expand and integrate computer technology into everyday life with the development of nifty applications that rely on internet connectivity.