Monday, October 24, 2011

Google considers building fiber network in Europe

Google Senior Vice President David Drummond Friday said Google is considering building a fiber network in a European country. As was the case when Google earlier began experimenting first with municipal Wi-Fi and now the fiber to the home network in Kansas City, the effort is to sway policy debates. 1 Gbps test


Google believes rightly that its own business benefits from ubiquitous and capacious broadband. So anything it can do at reasonable cost to stimulate further investment is viewed as a reasonable marketing investment. Municipal Wi-Fi


During a meeting at the French Industry Ministry, Drummond said that Google was "looking very closely" at a potential project in Europe, without specifying where this project would be launched or when. Google considers building fiber network in Europe


This wouldn't be its first foray into networks. The U.S company has already announced a plan to build an experimental ultra-fast broadband network in Kansas City.


Google's interest comes as European telecoms operators are under pressure to up investment in high speed broadband networks across the continent. 


What isn't so clear is whether the demonstration projects will have much impact. Fixed-line broadband access plant is not primarily a "software" matter that is amenable to clever coding. The input costs are well known, and Google will not have access to any tools the rest of the global industry is unaware of or unable to use or buy. 


That suggests Google will not be able to produce some new investment cost breakthrough that has wider commercial implications. Google might suggest that this is not the issue, rather the point is to provide lots of bandwidth and then see what users and developers can do. 


It is hard to see how a small test will offer the scale to entice any serious new applications, either. Since many studies suggest that people spend more time online and consume more bandwidth when they have access to faster connections, nobody would be surprised if there was some stimulative impact. 


But the likely impact in the consumer space is likely to be that people watch more streaming video, play more games and spend more time on social networks. 

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