After Facebook, Google Looks to Eat Comcast's Lunch

The titan of search plans to provide lightning-fast broadband

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Is there an industry Google won't try to topple? After entering the social media sphere Wednesday, the search titan is now lighting a fire under the telecom industry. Google plans to offer super fast broadband networks to select towns across the U.S. "We plan to offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people," the company said. "We’ll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today." While some doubt Google will become a "full-fledged" network operator, the lion's share of tech-bloggers are expecting big things from the venture:

  • Don't Underestimate This Move, writes Mark Sullivan at PC World: "This is Google we’re talking about. It has massive influence in business, and, increasingly in regulatory circles. The announcement comes right on the heels of the federal government releasing the first round of funding for broadband networks to rural and under-served areas. It appears to be intended as an adjunct to the FCC’s own Broadband Plan, as if to say: 'See, you can do it like this.'"
  • Self-Interest Rightly Understood, writes John Paczkowski at All Things Digital:"[This is] an altruistic goal, but a selfishly altruistic one. By providing Internet speeds of 1Gbps — more than 100 times faster than what most of us are used to, Google will drive further usage of its various services and the contextual ads it peppers them with. At the same time, it will humiliate the telcos into improving their own networks and — given Google’s stated focus on 'openness and choice,' perhaps even change market dynamics."
  • Google On-Demand Here We Come, writes James Turner at O'Reilly Radar: "Once Google has a pipe into the house, they can easily become a player in VoIP and landline telephone service, as well as cable TV and on-demand. Of course, these areas are fraught with regulatory issues. Many towns require cable providers to enter into individual franchise agreements in order to provide service, which can be a nightmare when you multiply it times N towns. But it's much easier to offer when you have a bit pipe already in place. And a 1Gb service will allow for HD or even Blu-Ray 3D service on-demand to the house."
  • Finally a Challenge to Comcast, writes John Cook at TechFlash: "Broadband Internet customers love to rail against Comcast, one of the dominant providers of Internet service in the Pacific Northwest. But customers who are dissatisfied with Comcast service or prices eventually could have an alternative. And it is coming from none other than Google."
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