Google continues its quest for world domination with a pilot project to build an experimental fiber-optic network. Their initial trial would serve 50,000, maybe 500,000 customers in various communities around the United States. Google says it will run fiber to the home for a "competitive price."
And what would you get for hooking up to the beast? Downloads at one gigabit per second.
What does that mean? My residential service from Sioux Valley Wireless, robust as it may be, comes in at no more than one megabit per second... usually more like 600–800 kilobits. One gigabit per second is over a thousand times faster than my current service on its best day.
If you're in Madison, you might be getting faster service than I. Midco's "Ultimate" broadband service gives you up to 50 megabits per second for $125 a month. Google's proposed network would still be 20 times faster. In other words, the hi-def full-length movie that takes Midco's highest-paying customers maybe 15 minutes to download could blast through Google fiber to your hard drive in less than a minute.
Jeepers—I'd be satisfied just to watch Hulu without pauses. Any faster, we'll be teleporting people through that pipe.
Google's idea is to install a super-zoomy network to support the development of bigger and better applications and more opportunities for everyone to profit. The first example they give is rich 3-D medical imaging and videoconferencing to help rural hospitals connect with faraway specialists. The possibilities for rural medicine, education, and commerce are as big as your imagination and desire for data.
Google isn't even trying to crowd out other providers. They want to build an open network accessible to multiple service providers. Google figures this pie is big enough for everyone to share.
Google is asking communities that would be interested in having the fastest community Internet in America to send them an e-mail and make their pitch. Um, Madison? I'm thinking getting the Google fiber network would be a really good idea. Let's do it!
I've forwarded the Google Fiber Request for Information to the Madison City Commission, the LAIC, and a member of the Lake County Commission. I've also submitted my own nomination for Madison... and you can too! Residents and community groups are welcome to nominate their towns for this project.
Google's taking pitches until March 26. Madison, forget doubling the lanes on Highway 34. Let's try double-double-double-double-double-doubling the lanes on our information highway!
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