Google Fiber pivots: What it means for the way forward for gigabit web


Picture: Google

Google Fiber is, undoubtedly, one of many largest experiments the search big has taken on, nevertheless it appears to have hit a snag. On Tuesday, former Google Fiber CEO Craig Barratt penned a blog post saying that he was stepping down from his position as CEO, and that Google can be pausing operations within the potential Fiber cities.

The publish, titled “Advancing our superb guess,” explains quite vaguely that Entry, the mother or father division of Fiber, might be making modifications to its “enterprise and product technique.” These modifications embrace a “give attention to new know-how and deployment strategies,” which is the rationale given for the paused improvement.

The publish did not point out which cities can be affected, however the metropolis of Louisville, KY—one of many just lately deliberate enlargement cities for Fiber—informed TechRepublic that it’s nonetheless working with Google. Moreover, whereas layoffs have been talked about usually within the submit, Ars Technica reported that Google Fiber will cut staff by 9% with Barratt’s departure.

SEE: Google’s Fiber lottery: Predicting who’s next and how Google picks winners

The excellent news for Fiber followers is that Google claims they are not suspending operations indefinitely, and that the work in present Fiber cities will proceed. Relating to the cities the place operations have been paused, Barratt wrote that “we’re assured we’ll have a chance to renew our partnership discussions as soon as we have superior our applied sciences and options.”

Google’s final plan with Fiber has all the time been a thriller, however the primary aim is obvious—get extra individuals related to the web with quicker speeds. Up to now, I have written that Google might have both pursued Fiber as its personal enterprise, or just used it as a catalyst to encourage legacy suppliers to extend their speeds.

To cite an typically-overused adage, a rising tide does certainly carry all boats. Within the cities the place corporations like Comcast and AT&T had a stronghold, Google Fiber’s disruption brought on them to extend web speeds to be able to compete. That’s nice information for SMBs and telecommuters, however additionally it is excellent news for Google, as extra web customers with quicker connections might imply extra individuals accessing Google’s core services. The hope is that these legacy suppliers do not attempt to backslide on their guarantees of elevated speeds in areas the place Google has stopped operations.

Then again, Google has been engaged on offering these speeds as an ISP itself, and it’ll possible proceed doing simply that. Because the supplier, Google will get worthwhile perception into how individuals are utilizing gigabit speeds, and the potential for brand spanking new web merchandise when these speeds grow to be commonplace. The query is: Will they proceed doing that with bodily fiber?

Constructing out bodily fiber infrastructure is expensive, and it is troublesome to justify when Google has struggled to meet subscriber goals. Mix that with the pushback from different suppliers on sharing resources like utility poles, and it will get much more problematic. Nevertheless, Barratt famous that Google can be “pushing the boundaries of know-how” relating to fiber, and that might be pointing to at least one particular function—wi-fi.

As many have already famous, utilizing wi-fi know-how to spice up final-mile efforts in fiber deployment is less expensive and helps circumvent a number of the complications related to bodily fiber. Google’s purchase of Webpass and its filing with the FCC appear to point that wi-fi is the course it’s heading with Fiber. Moreover, new initiatives in legacy infrastructure like copper have achieved 8 Gbps speeds, which might set the stage for much more deployment choices sooner or later.

If Google can efficiently leverage wi-fi fiber-to-the-residence applied sciences in its Google Fiber deployments, it might improve the velocity of these deployments and probably leapfrog different suppliers in new markets, turning into the primary out there supplier in some areas. Prior to now yr, shopper satisfaction with ISPs has hit an all time low, and if Google could be first to market with a strong connectivity choice, it might solidify its place as an actual ISP.

The three huge takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Google Fiber’s CEO, Craig Barratt, introduced in a weblog publish that he was stepping down and that Fiber can be pausing operations in a few of the potential cities.
  2. Google Fiber will expertise some layoffs within the affected areas, however Barratt stated that the corporate will return to these cities when it has new know-how choices.
  3. Google might be exploring wi-fi, final-mile choices as a solution to leapfrog the competitors in new markets for gigabit web.

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