Google: “Thinking big with a gig” or “Doing small at a crawl?”

February 11, 2011

It has now been over a year since Google promised with great fanfare that it would “make a meaningful contribution to the shared goal of delivering faster and better Internet for everyone” by offering “ultra-high-speed broadband networks… with 1 gigabit per second fiber-to-the-home connections… at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.”

What is taking so long for Google to do this?

  • How can a company that can deliver thousands of top answers to any question imaginable in less than a second — not be able to rank one community higher than another thousand communities in ten months!
    • Isn’t there a Google app for that?
  • How can the Federal government decide on who wins broadband grants faster than Google does?
    • How is it that the FCC bureaucracy can devise an entire National Broadband Plan faster than Google (the company known for being the fastest company in releasing new products and services) can select one community for a broadband gift?
  • How come such a worthy offer from Google — that has attracted the interest of over one thousand American communities, and that could make a big difference for one or a few economically distressed communities — is such a low priority to Google? Especially when Google’s acting CEO Eric Schmidt has been on the President’s Economic Advisory Board to help generate economic growth and job creation?
  • Is “thinking big with a gig” just another Google publicity stunt that it never intended to deliver on?

What could be the reason for Google’s glacial pace in addressing a problem Google has told everyone is so important to solve?

  • Could it be that Google figured out how operationally difficult and extremely expensive it is to offer “1 gigabit fiber-to-the-home connections… at a competitive price?” Especially when existing competitors are already offering speeds at competitive prices much faster than most all consumers want or need?
  • Or could it be that Google has figured out that after lobbying so hard for the FCC Open Internet Order, that now preemptively regulates all broadband providers, that Google would become a regulated Broadband Internet Access Service (BIAS-ed) provider?
  • Or could it be that becoming a broadband provider that is officially-classified by the Government as a “BIAS-ed” service, might be problematic as Google tries to convince the Department of Justice and the EU antitrust authorities that Google is not a biased business model and that Google is not guilty of abusing its monopoly power to favor its own products, services and content over competitors?
  • Or could it be that Google realizes that the Level 3/Netflix effort to regulate the unregulated Internet backbone market like a CLEC (that Google has been supportive of behind the scenes) could end up capturing Google’s vast national dark fiber backbone network that it would attach to its promised 1 gigabit fiber-to-the-home network?
  • Or could it be that becoming a BIAS-ed broadband provider could result in Google Voice being regulated as a VOIP provider that would subject Google to E-911 responsibilities, CALEA law enforcement wiretapping cooperation responsibilities, or universal service subsidy contributions?
  • Or could it be that becoming a fiber-to-the-home boradband provider would legally classify Google-YouTube as a Multichannel Video Programming Distributor (MVPD) that is legally required to abide by Equal Employment Opportunity requirements? Especially just when Google’s headquarters is being picketed by minority groups for not hiring enough women and minorities, and when Google got an exemption from the Labor Department so that Google did not have to publicly report its minority hiring record because the diversity makeup of Google’s workforce is a “trade secret?”

In sum, Google’s over-promising “thinking big with a gig” is under-delivering by “doing small with a crawl.”

  • It appears as if Google may be reconsidering its goobristic idea that becoming an increasingly regulated broadband provider was easy, a PR-winner, and what Google wants to do.

Maybe I should put a ticker up on GoogleMonitor.com to keep track of how many days/months Google is late in its public promise to make “a meaningful contribution to the shared goal of delivering faster and better Internet for everyone?

 

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