Posted by: loiscole22 | February 22, 2010

Mixed response to Google Fiber project

Google announced last week that it would be dipping its toes into the middle mile game with an ambitious RFP that will apparently provide 1 Gigabit speeds to somewhere between 50,000 and 500,000 households. It’s clear from the range they’ve left open that they are hoping the responses will drive the end result – looking, as they so often do, to the collective brain of all of you (us) to help them figure out the best way to do things.  The response has been swift and varied.  A decent round-up of industry responses can be found in this ars technica post.

While I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how they execute on this I really get excited thinking about how they are going to use the sandbox they are building down the road.  I imagine the plan would be to identify, among the thousands of applications they’ve already started receiving, pilot sites with varied profiles.  For instance it would be interesting to see ultra fast deployments in a rural low-income community, an urban multi family affordable housing complex and a suburban hospital or medical campus.  Each bucket presents its own unique deployment challenges, both physical and political, but more importantly each opens a new world of programming and software development opportunities.

There’s a quote I saw once (read: a hundred times) on a magnet or coffee cup or inspirational poster somewhere that said something along the lines of what would you do if you knew you could not fail?  Seems to me that Google is trying to create a world like that for programmers and developers. A world where the primary enemy of any program that seeks to move packets over the Internet – speed – is eliminated.  What would we design for rural communities if we could move any amount of data at any desired speed?  For hospitals? For schools?

Of course most of the media attention is on Google’s contentious relationship with the Big Brothers out there – the incumbent providers, the FCC, the NCTAs of the world.  But I’m more interested in the philosophical implications than the political.  Maybe because it’s easier to talk about imaginary worlds than it is to remember all of the acronyms of DCs telco lobbyists…

Regardless, assuming they can pull it off, it should be fun to watch.

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