Networking

Peter Cochrane's Blog: Google broadband to eat telcos' lunch?

1Gbps net service devours traditional providers

Written in the bar at my hotel in Welshpool and dispatched to silicon.com later the same day via a free wi-fi service in Manchester.

The human race seems to come in many strata and it is sometimes tempting to simplify the number to just two: those who get IT and those that don't.

It is sad to reflect that almost all of the telcos and ISPs of the world fit into the latter category.

They have forgotten the telegraph wars of two centuries ago, and the death of this medium at the hand of the telephone companies. They don't seem to be able to see the looming threat posed by the internet and the new forces of change.

Whilst they boast broadband speeds of up to 50Mbps as leading edge, and classify 60Mbps as 'superfast', a stage left supplier offering 1Gbps has just appeared on the radar.

Google, yes Google, has come clean about a trial they are planning which will offer these super-fast, fiber-to-the-home connections to 50,000 - 500,000 people in the US at "competitive prices", so Google can study their usage, behaviours and advantages.

Just look at this extract from their blog announcement:

"Imagine sitting in a rural health clinic, streaming three-dimensional medical imaging over the web and discussing a unique condition with a specialist in New York. Or downloading a high-definition, full-length feature film in less than five minutes. Or collaborating with classmates around the world while watching live 3-D video of a university lecture. Universal, ultra high-speed Internet access will make all this and more possible."

How long before this is augmented by others doing similar 'trials' across the planet?

This all becomes that much more interesting thanks to the lastest rumour that Conservative politicians are looking to Google to boost broadband services in the UK. Presumably this is an anticipatory pre-election step, and one-up on the moribund 'tax everything' minds currently governing this space.

If this is real and not just rumour, British telcos and ISPs should be worried. Google, and their friends, might just be lining up to eat their lunch!

About Peter Cochrane

Peter Cochrane is an engineer, scientist, entrepreneur, futurist and consultant. He is the former CTO and head of research at BT, with a career in telecoms and IT spanning more than 40 years.

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