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Google Fiber + Motorola Wifi - What is Google really up to?


Ross812
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I read an article on seeking alpha today that suggested Google may be getting into the service of being an ISP. I didn't realize Motorola had so many wifi and wireless network mesh solutions.

 

http://www.motorola.com/Business/US-EN/Business+Product+and+Services/Wireless+Broadband+Networks/

 

There has been a lot of talk concluding that the motorola aquisitiion was about aquiring patents to defend their android platform, but perhapse the wifi infrarstructure patents were what google was really after. Considering that Google has focussed on providing free internet services to more deeply integrate themselves as the internet's primary search provider, I think it makes sense that they would build out internet infra structure to offer either a free or low cost internet connection to everyone. Cosidering the google fiber project going live in Kansas City:

 

https://fiber.google.com/about/

 

It seems they are on their way to offering this kind of service. The Motorola wifi infrastructure could allow Google to build out their network more cheaply and tie it into existing Google Fiber nodes. (Does Google Fiber tie into the Level 3 network?) This is just some musing I had after reading the seeking alpha article. I thought it was an interesting thought for those of us trying to figure out why the heck Google bought Motorola. My initial thoughts of hardware and patents don't seem to be playing out.

 

http://seekingalpha.com/article/765121-google-is-not-just-an-ad-company

 

-Ross

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I think they're trying to be a catalyst and don't really want to have to do it all themselves. Same as how making the Chrome browser lit a fire under the whole browser field and improved things for everybody. Providing fiber in some places will make other telcos move much faster than they would have otherwise. Their bet is that the faster and more useful the net is, the more ads they can sell via search and adsense. I don't think they plan on making much money directly as an ISP.

 

iirc, they bought a lot of dark fiber pretty cheaply after the dotcom crash. They've no doubt used a lot of it internally, but they've probably figured that they can use some of it too as a ISP. Might as well do that instead of leaving it dark; chances are that the long-term benefits (including indirect benefits, such as other ISPs offering better fiber options at cheaper prices) will more than pay for what they're investing in that project.

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The first thing that I thought when I read about this the other day is that Google wants to take control of their own destiny regarding net neutrality. Right now there are only a handful of choices for fiber, and if the house bill had passed in 2010 (in some form or another), Google would have been in a very uncomfortable position (to say the least).

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I think they're trying to be a catalyst and don't really want to have to do it all themselves. Same as how making the Chrome browser lit a fire under the whole browser field and improved things for everybody. Providing fiber in some places will make other telcos move much faster than they would have otherwise. Their bet is that the faster and more useful the net is, the more ads they can sell via search and adsense. I don't think they plan on making much money directly as an ISP.

 

iirc, they bought a lot of dark fiber pretty cheaply after the dotcom crash. They've no doubt used a lot of it internally, but they've probably figured that they can use some of it too as a ISP. Might as well do that instead of leaving it dark; chances are that the long-term benefits (including indirect benefits, such as other ISPs offering better fiber options at cheaper prices) will more than pay for what they're investing in that project.

 

Verizon was already moving fast with its FiOS initiative. They scaled back plans because demand didn't meet expectations.

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Verizon was already moving fast with its FiOS initiative. They scaled back plans because demand didn't meet expectations.

 

I don't think that the two are really comparable.

Verizon FiOS is 150 Mbps (300 Mbps max for the "premium" service) for $100/ mo.

Google Fiber's initial roll-out is 1 Gbps for $70/ mo.

 

As with many of their products, Google has a very good value proposition for consumers with this offering.

 

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Verizon was already moving fast with its FiOS initiative. They scaled back plans because demand didn't meet expectations.

 

I don't think that the two are really comparable.

Verizon FiOS is 150 Mbps (300 Mbps max for the "premium" service) for $100/ mo.

Google Fiber's initial roll-out is 1 Gbps for $70/ mo.

 

As with many of their products, Google has a very good value proposition for consumers with this offering.

What applications require 1 Gbps? Why is there demand for that high bandwidth if demand was high for 150 Mbps?

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The other thing I think is notable is that Google Fiber is symmetric (i.e. upload speed is equal to download speed).  My thinking is that they want to encourage content creation as well as content consumption.  As for where is the demand for gigabit internet, I don't think there is a demand for it, but at that price I'd be buying it.  Google is trying to create a demand and encourage content creation at the same time.  If everyone had 1GB internet or even a lot of people had it, there would be high bandwidth consuming web applications that we haven't though of yet appearing all over the place.

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Wifi signal deteroriate very fast when you are like 20-30 feet away from the source. I cannot imagine a system where you would get reliable wifi everywhere in a city and pay for it. And if you are to bring fiber to the home then it is big investment for a new telco to do. The Bells of this world are doing it but it costing them big bucks and are using existant cash flow and debt to do it. And then again i cannot imagine a new telco coming in and building all this infrastructure for scratch in every city of North America

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What applications require 1 Gbps? Why is there demand for that high bandwidth if demand was high for 150 Mbps?

 

We'll find out when it's available. If you had told people a few years ago that average consumerw would have terabytes of storage, gigabytes of RAM, video cards with hundreds of cores, etc, in their home, it would have sounded pretty far-fetched and overkill...

 

Once the capability exists, entrepreneurs figure out ways to build things that use it.

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What applications require 1 Gbps? Why is there demand for that high bandwidth if demand was high for 150 Mbps?

 

This is a good example of Google being where the puck is going and Verizon being where the puck is (or used to be). Movies / video, HDTV, Skype, certain telephony applications, cloud storage, etc. all are painful to use at 150 Mbps...a whole lot of buffering going on. Everything works better at higher speeds, and Google is offering this at a price that is hard to argue with. They're offering 3x Comcast speeds at a lower price than Comcast. It is a no-lose proposition for consumers.

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What applications require 1 Gbps? Why is there demand for that high bandwidth if demand was high for 150 Mbps?

 

We'll find out when it's available. If you had told people a few years ago that average consumerw would have terabytes of storage, gigabytes of RAM, video cards with hundreds of cores, etc, in their home, it would have sounded pretty far-fetched and overkill...

 

Once the capability exists, entrepreneurs figure out ways to build things that use it.

 

A blue ray stream is about 25 mbps. With 1 gbps, 40 people in a home can be each streaming a blue ray stream simultaneously. Or those 40 people can engage in a high quality telepresence conference if they each have equipment that costs about $100K.

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What applications require 1 Gbps? Why is there demand for that high bandwidth if demand was high for 150 Mbps?

 

This is a good example of Google being where the puck is going and Verizon being where the puck is (or used to be). Movies / video, HDTV, Skype, certain telephony applications, cloud storage, etc. all are painful to use at 150 Mbps...a whole lot of buffering going on. Everything works better at higher speeds, and Google is offering this at a price that is hard to argue with. They're offering 3x Comcast speeds at a lower price than Comcast. It is a no-lose proposition for consumers.

 

Take a look at the table at the bottom:

http://blog.broadband.gov/?authorId=647984&nbsp/

 

Also, most homes are connected by Wifi. The theoretical peak of 802.11n is 600 mbps. In practice, people will get a fraction of that.

 

Verizon did invest in broadband but then scaled back because they realized that the puck is going towards mobile.

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A blue ray stream is about 25 mbps. With 1 gbps, 40 people in a home can be each streaming a blue ray stream simultaneously. Or those 40 people can engage in a high quality telepresence conference if they each have equipment that costs about $100K.

 

You sound like kind of a jackass arguing that people shouldn't want 1 Gbps.  I want it and would pay $150/mo for it easily.  That it could be available for $70 is just that much better.  I can understand arguing why it's a bad idea for Google because of cost, because of brand dilution, because it's a distraction, it doesn't fit, etc. etc.  But saying that people shouldn't want 1Gbps is like saying 640kb RAM is all anyone needs.  It's not true and even if it were true today, it's still short sighted.

 

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$70 a month for a 1Gbps connection AND a 1 terabyte Google drive subscription. At $70a month its a no brainer. I pay$45 a ,month for 10 Mbps. Don't forget Google offers a free 5 mbps connection if you pay for the $300 install. I would not be surprised to see Google offer free city wide WiFi of they can figure out how to implement it. Don't forget that lan Ethernet becomes obsolete when you have a GB internet (full saturation) connection. Syncing with Google drive becomes as seamless as saving to the lan.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest valueInv

A blue ray stream is about 25 mbps. With 1 gbps, 40 people in a home can be each streaming a blue ray stream simultaneously. Or those 40 people can engage in a high quality telepresence conference if they each have equipment that costs about $100K.

 

You sound like kind of a jackass arguing that people shouldn't want 1 Gbps.  I want it and would pay $150/mo for it easily.  That it could be available for $70 is just that much better.  I can understand arguing why it's a bad idea for Google because of cost, because of brand dilution, because it's a distraction, it doesn't fit, etc. etc.  But saying that people shouldn't want 1Gbps is like saying 640kb RAM is all anyone needs.  It's not true and even if it were true today, it's still short sighted.

 

You're right, I d sound like a jackass  ;):

 

http://gigaom.com/2012/08/31/garbage-in-garbage-out-google-fiber-edition/

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You're right, I d sound like a jackass  ;):

 

http://gigaom.com/2012/08/31/garbage-in-garbage-out-google-fiber-edition/

 

I'm glad we can agree on something.

 

More than half of the eligible neighbourhoods have reached their minimum, and many of those that haven't are low-income neighbourhoods where high-speed internet isn't a priority.  This is a far from validating your thesis of "nobody wants or should want 1Gbps service."

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  • 3 months later...
Guest valueInv

A blue ray stream is about 25 mbps. With 1 gbps, 40 people in a home can be each streaming a blue ray stream simultaneously. Or those 40 people can engage in a high quality telepresence conference if they each have equipment that costs about $100K.

 

You sound like kind of a jackass arguing that people shouldn't want 1 Gbps.  I want it and would pay $150/mo for it easily.  That it could be available for $70 is just that much better.  I can understand arguing why it's a bad idea for Google because of cost, because of brand dilution, because it's a distraction, it doesn't fit, etc. etc.  But saying that people shouldn't want 1Gbps is like saying 640kb RAM is all anyone needs.  It's not true and even if it were true today, it's still short sighted.

 

Sounds like you found the application for your Google fiber connection  ;):

 

http://money.cnn.com/2012/12/11/technology/innovation/netflix-internet-rankings/?npt=NP1

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The really obvious thing to do is to move video down that pipe.

 

IPTV

Netflix

Youtube

um... bittorrent, newsgroups, etc.

 

Personally I haven't watched cable television for a long time (even though I have it).  Commercials?!?!  I remember those things.  To me, and maybe I live in my own little bubble, consumers will gravitate towards streaming whatever it is that they want to watch.

They might watch some live stuff such as sporting events or shows that all their friends are into... so traditional push model may still be around to some degree.  But I see most people 'pulling' their content... illegally or legally.

 

2- John Malone has commented that the cap rates on fiber buildouts don't really make sense.

 

3- Google lets its employees do crazy and random stuff.  (e.g. the employees are allotted a certain amount of time to work on whatever they want.)  They are working things like on self-driving cars...

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What applications require 1 Gbps? Why is there demand for that high bandwidth if demand was high for 150 Mbps?

 

This is a good example of Google being where the puck is going and Verizon being where the puck is (or used to be). Movies / video, HDTV, Skype, certain telephony applications, cloud storage, etc. all are painful to use at 150 Mbps...a whole lot of buffering going on. Everything works better at higher speeds, and Google is offering this at a price that is hard to argue with. They're offering 3x Comcast speeds at a lower price than Comcast. It is a no-lose proposition for consumers.

 

Most voice and video performs very well at 150 Mbps, the codecs are designed to operate at much lower bandwidth. The killer is latency and dropped packets. Wifi due to the nature of RF often results in unpredictable latency and packet loss as does rate limiting techniques used by some ISPs and network administrators.

 

That being said if this service was offered in Seattle I would order it today.

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A couple of random thoughts, some of which may be repeats of other posts.

 

- Net Neutrality - Big ISPs like Comcast and Verizon want to charge google for access to their customers. It drives them crazy that essentially own all the customers who are going to Google, Facebook etc... Google is monetizing off of these people and they are constantly trying to reduce their rates or come up with more competitive offers. Even if google has mild success with this its a big middle finger to Comcast and Verizon and shows that there is some potential threat to their monopolies. Also my guess is that Google will be able to manage a large scale network like that way more efficiently than Comcast or VZ. I worked a major cell carrier for a while and let me tell you Telcos are not the fastest moving beasts, although they are getting more agile due to competition.

 

Another aspect of Net Neutrality is that the innovation on the Internet has been driven by its open model. Companies like Comcast and Verizon want to control and offer services based on the types of bits you send and receive and also based on whether they are ingress or egress. I can't fault them for it because they are just trying to make money but the fear is that Internet connectivity becomes more like TV, a one may street and people are not encouraged (or in fact discouraged) to create content. Someone with a cool idea for video/audio technology or some teenager experimenting with new software he/she has written might be able to innovate more if they had access to a very fast symmetric internet connection. One of the premises behind net neutrality is common carriage philosophy where you pay for X amount of bits and you get to use those for whatever you like.

 

This is inline with Google's ethos of being "not evil" and keeping the spirit of the Internet intact while also potentially furthering their other business efforts.

 

- Who needs 1G at home? Well at my office I have a 1G ethernet connection to all the servers in my office for access applications copying data I need etc... For the growing mobile work force 1G at home with a VPN to their office would be almost like being there, assuming the company has a beefy internet connection as well. Although I am guessing most companies today could not handle the onslaught of all their employees telecommuting on 1GB pipes. But the demand is there. Ever try to download that excel spreadsheet from your office file server over VPN at the airport? Windows spins and spins and eventually you hit cancel. Most file sharing protocols used in the corporate world would not designed to work over slow links. I would LOVE to have this service at my home.

 

- Other ideas? Well for one thing google gets great analytics on you when you use their applications like search, gmail, desktop search. What if they could gather analytics about all the 1s and 0s going over your internet connection? Has anyone read the EULA for Google Fiber? I haven't but wouldn't be surprised if there is something in there that allows them to non-identifying information. Google is at its heart a data company.

 

Comcast has X1 which appears to be there new cloud based cable box. They basically want you to interact with an app that they host so they can deliver a great cable experience and update the app on the fly. As we know cable box UIs are horrible. Maybe Google want to pilot or build similar things? Much easier to test/pilot with a bunch of 1GB connected customers.

 

Google also has a TON of connectivity but my guess is that most of it outbound serving ads and search requests, if these customers are on Google's fiber maybe Google is letting them use all of their potentially unused download bandwidth?? That would probably give them a big edge over Comcast since they are already paying for all this connectivity and the download portion probably goes unused, but thats just a guess, I have no data to back that up.

 

As others have mentioned having a 1GB connection to google drive basically removes the need to have an at home backup device like an apple time capsule or home NAS.

 

Just random thoughts here.

 

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Think about how much it will cost Netflix to provide the ability to stream at 100 Mbps to each customer .

 

Well if Google buys them then they would not have that issue anymore :) Otherwise yeah their AWS bill just went way up. Though at the moment Netflix does not need to support that provide a great experience. On the flip side the customer can watch a movie on Netflix at the highest rate they offer today while their children are on skype or someone is downloading Windows Updates at top speed and know one's experience is affected.

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