One Way Google Fiber Has Changed Regulator Thinking

Google Fiber has, in one respect, changed the way service providers and regulators look at deployment of local access networks.

Traditionally, telecom and cable TV regulators have expected and demanded full coverage of all homes in a service territory.

What is different now is that regulators have embraced the notion that high-performance networks get deployed faster when they can be “spot deployed” in some neighborhoods first, with no regard for end user demand.

And Internet service providers increasingly are timing their new builds on a “fiberhood” basis, responding to demand from residents.

And some would say that is why AT&T thinks the economics of gigabit networks look better.

The business case, where demand for gigabit services can be proven, “is really strong,” according to AT&T, and not a case of “experimenting.”

In the past, such targeted deployment likely would have been viewed by regulators as “redlining.”
Instead, AT&T now believes it can deploy ubiquitous networks offering 45 Mbps, for example, and then spot build gigabit access on top of that, but only in neighborhoods where demand is high enough to warrant the extra investment.
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