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The Economics of the Google Gigabit
Lesson 1: Google built its own network. It isn't leasing connections or services from big telecommunications companies. Building your own network gives you more control -- both of technology and pricing. Lesson 2: Google uses fiber-optics. These connections are reliable and have the highest capacity of any communications medium. The homes in Kansas City are connected via fiber whereas Time Warner Cable, CenturyLink, and others continue to rely on last-generation technologies because they are delaying investment in modern technology to boost their profits.Others have already followed these lessons but are not able to offer their gig for such a low prices. To understand why, let's start with some basics. I'm hypothetically starting Anytown Fiber Net in my neighborhood and I want to offer a gig.
Google Fiber Unveiled in Kansas City
Google Congratulates Longmont on Referendum
Update: A contact at Google cast doubt on whether the call below was made -- but also reiterated that Google is on the record opposing state laws like that in Colorado that take authority away from communities.
We have learned that Google called Longmont Power to congratulate them on regaining their authority via the successful referendum. Apparently, Longmont was a top contender for the Google Gigabit project but Google was unable to determine whether Longmont had the authority to work with them due to the anti-competitive 2005 Qwest law.
Presumably this places Longmont back on the list of places Google may try to build a network depending on the outcome in Kansas City.
This is yet another example of why state restrictions on local broadband authority is entirely counter-productive to spurring broadband investment. We previously speculated that Texas law prevented Austin from being Google's partner.
States: STOP taking broadband authority away from communities. Local authority is essential for investment in next-generation networks. Communities: make sure you are making smart partnerships! Don't just jump at anyone pretending to offer a free lunch.
Oregon Town To Build Open Access Fiber Network Complement to Wireless Network
What happens now? This is a pilot program, so we’re taking it step-by-step. We want the residents and property owners in Cascadia/Bornstedt Villages to be partners with us in making decisions on how this service will work. And we want it to be democratic: whatever we do, it will only be with the support of the majority of the residents and property owners who get involved. The first thing we need to know is: how would you like to be involved? We have a lot of options, depending on your level of interest, and how busy your life is. On one end of the spectrum is simply asking us to keep you informed through e-mail or letters, and at the other end is your active participation (over a course of several meetings) in the detailed planning for the implementation of this pilot project.
Google Gigabit Chief Defends Local Authority to Build Broadband Networks
Medin also advocated for a policy loathed by some parts of the cable industry: municipal broadband. "Localities know more about what works for their communities than state governments or the federal government do. In the end, we feel that while this is probably not the right choice in many cases, it is something that should not be prohibited," he said. Allowing communities to address their own broadband needs could help extend broadband to rural areas, according to Medin.We have been offering in-depth coverage of Time Warner Cable's efforts to strip communities of that authority in North Carolina as well as other issues around preemption. Medin's statement echoes that of the FCC National Broadband Plan: "Congress should make clear that Tribal, state, regional and local governments can build broadband networks." This recommendation was recently Reiterated by FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn:
I recently learned that several state legislatures are considering bills that are contrary to the deployment objectives of the Broadband Plan. For example, in North Carolina, the state legislature is currently evaluating legislation entitled ‘Level Playing Field/Local Government Competition.’ Last week the North Carolina House passed the bill, and it currently awaits consideration in the Senate. This piece of legislation certainly sounds goal-worthy, an innocuous proposition, but do not let the title fool you.
Public Ownership is Good for Business
In terms of fiber-enabled cost savings, 120 businesses in Bristol reported an average of $2,951 in savings per year, while, in Reedsburg, 33 cited annual cost savings averaging $20,682. Twenty Jackson businesses reported cost impacts due to fiber, with one large organization reporting a total of $3 million in savings. The other 19 Jackson respondents reported a net average cost increase of $3,150 per organization.Make no mistake, public ownership of infrastructure is not anti-business, it is pro-business.
Did Texas Preemption Against Community Broadband Derail Austin's Bid for Google Gigabit?
Chip Rosenthal headed the grass roots effort to bring Google’s gigabit fiber network to Austin, and he says the Texas capital was on the short list of cities that received a site visit and were in the final rounds. Unfortunately for Austin (and me since I’d be happy to plug into a fiber-to-the-home network) Google passed over the city and chose Kansas City, Kan. instead. Rosenthal, who is one of seven commissioners on the City of Austin’s Technology and Telecommunications Commission (a strictly advisory body), thinks it’s because Texas is one of four states that forbids municipalities from getting involved in building networks.I frequently said that if I were at Google, I would not partner with a community in a state that has decided to limit local authority to make broadband investments. We do not know for sure what role these laws played, but it is interesting that Kansas City, Missouri, has much less freedom to build telecommunications networks than does Kansas City, Kansas. From everything we know, this network will owned and operated by Google - which means we do not consider community broadband. Though we salute Google's approach of open access (allowing independent ISPs to use the network), the future of the network is tied to Google, not the community in which it operates. Our hope is that this network helps to prove the model of open access networks, making it more feasible for communities around the country to build their own such networks much as they build the roads on which modern communities depend. And in the meantime, it is really, really dumb policy to take the choice of whether to build a community network out of the hands of the community.
Christopher Mitchell Discusses NC Muni Network Ban on Tech News Today
Yesterday, the Tech News Today netcast on the TWiT network invited me on to discuss the North Carolina legislation to kill community networks and the Google Gigabit network decision to build in Kansas City, Kansas. I am on the first 12 minutes or so of the show, embedded below.
Opposition Builds to TWC Bill in NC - Private Companies Weigh In Against Bill
February 25, 2011
Representative Thom Tillis
Speaker of the House
16 West Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27601-1096
Senator Phil Berger
Senate President Pro Tempore
16 W. Jones Street Raleigh, NC 27601-2808
Dear Representative Tillis and Senator Berger:
We, the undersigned private-sector companies and trade associations, urge you to oppose H129/S87 (Level Playing Field/Local Competition bill) because it will harm both the public and private sectors, stifle economic growth, prevent the creation or retention of thousands of jobs, hamper work force development and diminish the quality of life in North Carolina. In particular, this bill will hurt the private sector in several ways: by curtailing public-private partnerships, stifling private companies that sell equipment and services to public broadband providers, and impairing educational and occupational opportunities that contribute to a skilled workforce from which businesses across the state will benefit.
Munis and Coops Lead in Smart-Grid
Green Tech Grid asks, "Are Munis and Co-Ops Leading Smart Grid?" And the rest of the article says, "YES." This should come as no surprise for readers of this site. The dynamics, and even players, in smart-grid are very similar to those of community networks. There are essentially two approaches to smart-grid: that of the investor-owned utilities that see smart-grid investments as an opportunity to raise rates, and that of munis and coops who see an opportunity to cut costs and better serve their ratepayers.
In Leesburg's case, they knew that just an advanced meter deployment would cut their cost. "We told our commission we're not going to increase our rates because we're rolling this out," said Paul Kalv, Electric Director of Leesburg Power. "And we know we'll be reducing the customer charge to share those savings." So far the city has saved about $1 million. Kalv talks a lot about his customers. When one guy complained about his smart meter, Kalv personally went over to his house to check it out. It is that sort of on-the-ground interaction that is simply not possible for the CEO of investor-owned utilities, like Florida Power & Light Company, where Kalv worked for 22 years.
I raise this issue to note that the article discusses Leesburg and Lake County, Florida, without mentioning their investments in broadband. But when Leesburg applied for the Google Gigabit project, they noted their fiber-optic assets.