When Google first announced that it was looking for cities in which to test its new broadband capabilities, the assumption was that Google was going into the broadband business. For years we have hoped that Google would some day offer consumers an advertised supported network for cell phones and also for broadband use. The hope was that Google would be offering cell phones and an operating system that the company would offer for free and that we consumers would benefit from the free services that the company would provide.

Reality is that this may not be the case. It seems that the main purpose of the Google broadband experiment is to push the broadband big boys and force them to offer their services to those in rural areas. So what’s next?

Google’s going to start narrowing down the applications into those that are actually feasible, and will then be paying those communities a visit to discuss possible plans with community leaders, political representatives, and various other organizations. They’re hoping to come up with a single name by the end of the year, a city in which the new network can reach at least 50,000 and not more than 500,000 people.

The Google blog site indicates its purpose as follows:

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.

The key word here is ‘experiment.’ It does not seem that Google has any intention of getting into the broadband business.

Comments welcome.


Google blog site