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Cable Technology Feature Article

February 16, 2010

Faster Internet A Google Priority? Let's Hope So.

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

A series of moves last week may “suggest Google (News - Alert) is ready to take a tentative step toward fixing one of its longest-held gripes: the speed of Internet connections in the U.S.”

In a blog post on Feb. 10, according to TIME, Google product managers Minnie Ingersoll and James Kelly “laid out the company’s plan to provide as many as 500,000 people in a small number of locales with fiber-optic Internet connections capable of one gigabit per second, more than 100 times faster than the typical U.S. broadband connection speed today.”

Last week TMC (News - Alert) reported Google announced plans to build a handful of experimental, ultra-fast broadband networks around the country to connect consumers to the Internet. The networks will deliver speeds of 1 gigabit per second, many times faster than the DSL, cable and fiber-optic networks that connect most U.S. homes to the Internet today.

The company wants to drive the development of Internet video and other advanced online applications and ensure that tomorrow’s networks will have enough bandwidth to keep up with them.

BusinessWeek has reported that “U.S. regulators want to spur creation of more high-speed Internet networks such as a project announced last week by Google, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission said.”

“The U.S. should lead the world in ultra-high speed broadband testbeds,” Julius Genachowski (News - Alert) told a gathering of state regulators in Washington, according to BusinessWeek: “He cited Google’s announcement that it plans to offer Internet access at speeds 100 times faster than those available today, and said ‘We need others to drive competition to invent the future’.”

And in a February 9 opinion article in the Washington Post, TIME noted, “Google Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt (News - Alert) called for faster Internet connections as a way of narrowing America’s innovation deficit.” Two days later Google launched a Speed Dashboard as part of YouTube (News - Alert), “designed to let users compare the performance of their Internet connections to those of other providers in their neighborhood and around the world.”

U.S. providers are working on the next generation of broadband access, limited to 100 Mbps, TIME reports, noting that “by contrast, South Korea plans to give access to 1-Gbps connections countrywide by 2012 as part of a $24.6 billion plan to upgrade the country’s infrastructure.”

TIME writes that “faster Internet connections could increase consumer appetite for Google offerings like YouTube, particularly as the company has made a cautious foray into the movie-rental business. Services like Google Voice stand to benefit as well, as better speeds could let Google expand the product into a full-fledged VoIP telephone service.”

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Kelly McGuire