Google is at it again. According to a recent Los Angeles Times article, the technology giant is planning on building a high-speed broadband service. Google claims that the network will be 100 times faster than what is available today, and reach as many as 500,000 people. Many municipalities have already created “Bring Google Fiber” groups on Facebook, seeking to attract Google to their respective cities.
Interestingly, Google is choosing to put its experimental network in territory tightly controlled by other service providers, citing the strong competition as the key to ensuring success. Google has stated that offering this experimental network could prod cable and phone companies to offer cheaper, speedier access on a broader scale.
The increase in competition is good for ensuring innovation as well. The National Cable and Telecommunications Association said that the cable industry planned to spend billions of dollars on top of the $161 billion it had already invested over 13 years in a national broadband infrastructure, and industry watchers are hoping that Google’s entry into the marketplace will spur competition and innovation. Google’s new fiber network could cost anywhere from $60 million to $1.6 billion.
Oddly enough, while Google’s entrance into the broadband market shows the importance of line management by network providers, Google supports network neutrality regulation. As I pointed out in my policy perspective, net neutrality would limit ISPs ability to manage-and thus maximize the profit from-their own lines, reducing their incentive to invest the billions of dollars into innovation that they are currently providing. Google’s entrance into the market is a great example of why the current broadband market is working. When there is competition, investment and innovation follow.
– Ryan Brannan