The announcement comes right on the heels of the federal government releasing the first round of funding for broadband networks to rural and underserved 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.”More a more neutral report, see the Wall Street Journal, "Google Jolts Telecom Rivals", 11 Feb 2010.
Google loves challenging old business models with new technology ideas. Today’s announcement is the search giant’s opening salvo in a challenge to US broadband, which is monopolistic, slow and sees openness as a threat to profits.
I sincerely hope the tech and telecom communities rally around what Google is trying to do here. The planned fiber networks are not big enough to excite the suspicions among privacy conspiracy junkies that Google is only running the networks to collect more data about us, and as a new platform for its advertising business.
If the network goes national, those will be important questions to explore. For now, though, Google has a rare opportunity to put real pressure on large ISPs like AT&T and Comcast to sell more bandwidth for less money.
I can get behind that.
If nothing else, this is PR genius of the caliber we've come to expect of Google. Huge bang for little buck.