Wednesday, 15 December 2010

An update on Google Fiber

(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog.)

Earlier this year we announced an experiment we hope will help make Internet access better and faster for everyone: to provide a community with ultra high-speed broadband, 100 times faster than what most people have access to today.

This week I joined Google as vice president of Access Services to oversee the Google Fiber team. Over the past several months I’ve been following the progress the team has already made—from experimenting with new fiber deployment technologies here on Google’s campus, to announcing a “beta” network to 850 homes at Stanford—and I’m excited for us to bring our ultra high-speed network to a community.

We had planned to announce our selected community or communities by the end of this year, but the level of interest was incredible—nearly 1,100 communities across the country responded to our announcement—and exceeded our expectations. While we’re moving ahead full steam on this project, we’re not quite ready to make that announcement.

We’re sorry for this delay, but we want to make sure we get this right. To be clear, we’re not re-opening our selection process—we simply need more time to decide than we’d anticipated. Stay tuned for an announcement in early 2011.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Bringing ultra high-speed broadband to Stanford homes

(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog.)

Earlier this year we announced our plans to build and test ultra-high speed broadband networks in a small number of American communities. Since then, a team of Google engineers has been hard at work experimenting with new fiber optic technologies. And following a series of tests we’ve run on Google’s campus, we’re excited to announce the next step in our project.

We’ve reached an agreement with Stanford University to build an ultra-high speed broadband network to the university’s Residential Subdivision, a group of approximately 850 faculty- and staff-owned homes on campus. Through this trial, we plan to offer Internet speeds up to 1 gigabit per second—more than 100 times faster than what most people have access to today. We plan to start breaking ground in early 2011.

To be clear, this trial is completely separate from our community selection process for Google Fiber, which is still ongoing. As we’ve said, our ultimate goal is to build to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people, and we still plan to announce our selected community or communities by the end of the year.

Stanford’s Residential Subdivision—our first “beta” deployment to real customers—will be a key step towards that goal. We’ll be able to take what we learn from this small deployment to help scale our project more effectively and efficiently to much larger communities.

Why did we decide to build here? Most important was Stanford’s openness to us experimenting with new fiber technologies on its streets. The layout of the residential neighborhoods and small number of homes make it a good fit for a beta deployment. And its location—just a few miles up the road from Google—will make it easier for our engineers to monitor progress.

We’re excited about this beta, and we look forward to announcing our selected community or communities for Google Fiber in the coming months.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Introducing our Google Fiber for Communities website

(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog.)

In February we announced our plans to build experimental, ultra-high speed broadband networks. Over the past several months, our team’s been hard at work reviewing the nearly 1,100 community responses to our request for information—not to mention the nearly 200,000 responses from individuals across the U.S.

Throughout this process, one message has come through loud and clear: people are hungry for better and faster Internet access. With that in mind, today we’re launching a new site called Google Fiber for Communities, where you can learn more about fiber networks and keep up-to-date on our project. You’ll also be able to advocate for common-sense federal and local policies that would help fiber deployments nationwide.

We also wanted to thank every community and individual that submitted a response, posted a YouTube video, started a website, joined a rally or otherwise let their voice be heard. We were so honored by the grassroots enthusiasm across the country for this project that we put together a short video to say thank you:



As we explained back in March, we plan to name our target community or communities by the end of the year. We still have some work ahead of us before we’re ready to make that announcement, but in the meantime, we hope this site helps to keep the conversation going.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Next steps for our experimental fiber network

(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog.)

Since we announced our plans to build experimental, ultra high-speed broadband networks, the response from communities and individuals has been tremendous and creative. With just a few hours left before our submission deadline, we've received more than 600 community responses to our request for information (RFI), and more than 190,000 responses from individuals (we'll post an update with the final numbers later tonight). We've seen cities rename themselves, great YouTube videos, public rallies and hundreds of grassroots Facebook groups come to life, all with the goal of bringing ultra high-speed broadband to their communities.

We're thrilled to see this kind of excitement, and we want to humbly thank each and every community and individual for taking the time to participate. This enthusiasm is much bigger than Google and our experimental network. If one message has come through loud and clear, it's this: people across the country are hungry for better and faster Internet access.

So what's next? Over the coming months, we'll be reviewing the responses to determine where to build. As we narrow down our choices, we'll be conducting site visits, meeting with local officials and consulting with third-party organizations. Based on a rigorous review of the data, we will announce our target community or communities by the end of the year.

Of course, we're not going to be able to build in every interested community — our plan is to reach a total of at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people with this experiment. Wherever we decide to build, we hope to learn lessons that will help improve Internet access everywhere. After all, you shouldn't have to jump into frozen lakes and shark tanks to get ultra high-speed broadband.

Thanks again to all the communities and citizens that submitted a response. We feel the love, and we're honored by your interest.

Update at 5:26pm: The response deadline has now passed. We've received more than 1,100 community responses and more than 194,000 responses from individuals. This map displays where the responses were concentrated as of 1:30pm PT. Each small dot represents a government response, and each large dot represents locations where more than 1,000 residents submitted a nomination.


Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Experimenting with new ways to make broadband better, faster, and more available

(Cross-posted from the Public Policy Blog.)

Given how important broadband capability is to economic growth and job creation, it's no surprise that it's become a major topic of discussion in Washington.

The FCC is currently finalizing its National Broadband Plan to present to Congress next month. Recently we suggested that as part of its Plan, the Commission should build ultra high-speed broadband networks as testbeds in several communities across the country, to help learn how to bring faster and better broadband access to more people. We thought it was important to back up our policy recommendation with concrete action, so now we've decided to build an experimental network of our own.

Today we announced plans to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks, delivering Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what's available today to most Americans, over 1 gigabit per second fiber connections. As a first step, we're asking interested local governments to complete a request for information, which will help us determine where to build. Our goal is to experiment with new ways to help make broadband Internet access better, faster, and more widely available.

We're excited to see how consumers, small businesses, anchor institutions, and local governments will take advantage of ultra high-speed access to the Net. In the same way that the transition from dial-up to broadband made possible the emergence of online VoIP and video and countless other applications, we think that ultra high-speed bandwidth will lead to many new innovations – including streaming high-definition video content, remote data storage, distance learning, real-time multimedia collaboration, and others that we simply can't imagine yet.

This project will build on our ongoing efforts to expand and improve Internet access for consumers – from our free municipal Wi-Fi network in Mountain View, CA, to our advocacy in the 700 MHz spectrum auction, to our work to open the TV "white spaces" to unlicensed uses.

In building our broadband testbed, we plan to incorporate the policies we've been advocating for in areas like network neutrality and privacy protection. Even on a small scale, building an experimental network will also raise other important legal and policy issues, from local environmental law to rights-of-way, so we'll be working closely with communities, public officials, and other stakeholders to make sure we get this right.

By several measures, no matter who you ask, the U.S. in far too many places still lags behind many countries in Europe and Asia in terms of broadband speed, availability, and uptake. While it's unlikely that our experiment will be the silver bullet that delivers ultra high-speed Internet access to the rest of America, our engineers hope to learn some important things from this project. We can't wait to see what developers and consumers alike can accomplish with access to 1 gigabit broadband speeds.

Think big with a gig: Our experimental fiber network

(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog.)

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. We've urged the FCC to look at new and creative ways to get there in its National Broadband Plan – and today we're announcing an experiment of our own.

We're planning to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States. We'll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We plan to offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.

Our goal is to experiment with new ways to help make Internet access better and faster for everyone. Here are some specific things that we have in mind:
  • Next generation apps: We want to see what developers and users can do with ultra high-speeds, whether it's creating new bandwidth-intensive "killer apps" and services, or other uses we can't yet imagine.
  • New deployment techniques: We'll test new ways to build fiber networks, and to help inform and support deployments elsewhere, we'll share key lessons learned with the world.
  • Openness and choice: We'll operate an "open access" network, giving users the choice of multiple service providers. And consistent with our past advocacy, we'll manage our network in an open, non-discriminatory and transparent way.
Like our WiFi network in Mountain View, the purpose of this project is to experiment and learn. Network providers are making real progress to expand and improve high-speed Internet access, but there's still more to be done. We don't think we have all the answers – but through our trial, we hope to make a meaningful contribution to the shared goal of delivering faster and better Internet for everyone.

As a first step, today we're putting out a request for information (RFI) to help identify interested communities. We welcome responses from local government, as well as members of the public. If you'd like to respond, visit this page to learn more, or check out our video:



We'll collect responses until March 26, and will announce our target communities later this year. Stay tuned.