Buried in all the Google Buzz hype today was a little story on TechCrunch that Google is planning to offer 1 gigabit-per-second, super-duper, high-speed fiber-optic cable in up to 50,000 homes in the US shortly. This is more significant to me than Google taking on Facebook. Think about this for a second, OK? In my town we have "high" speeds of around 8 megabits per second. The very fastest Comcast service available anywhere is 50 megabits per second. This is one GIGABIT per second. I mean, we are talking about unheard of speeds. Do I want it? Hell yes, I want it!
Google Wants to Change the Conversation
According to the post on Google, this about changing the way we even think of how we use the internet. They suggest the idea of actually downloading a full-length high definition movie in under 5 minutes. Yes, that's fast. That's beyond belief fast. What Google would be doing is giving ordinary earthlings like ourselves access to the Google backbone. For now, they plan to limit to several communities and between 50,000 and 500,00 initial users. That's not many in the scheme of the internet, but those lucky communities that get this speed will be getting Start Trek-style internet access.
In Case You're Worried About Them Doing Evil...
I know Eric Schmidt would have us believe that Google won't ever do any evil, but hey you may be worried about giving the company that pledges no evil high-speed fiber channel access to your computing life, but Google has actually pledged "Open Access," meaning they will provide access to their pipes in the same way that the phone companies have to provide access to their lines to competitors. Google doesn't have to do this (yet), but they are pledging to do it anyway. Open access means municipalities could potentially access Google's pipes and offer competitively priced internet service to its citizens.
We would no longer be forced to bow down before the Comcast and Verizon internet gods for our service. We could have actual, real competition and we could have blazing, red-hot internet speeds at competitive prices. If that's evil, I'm on board with it.
How About a Package of Google Services to go with that Broadband?
TechCrunch reporter Erik Schonfeld speculates that Google will throw in a package of Google services with that internet access including Google Voice and a WiFi-enabled Android phone. Sounds nice, and with speeds like this we could be talking about a new generation of web-enabled applications, the likes of which we can only dream about right now.
I don't know about you, but just the thought of 1 gigabit per second makes me giddy. Where can I sign up? I'll start immediately.