Google to offer fast Internet broadband

Amy Scott Feb 10, 2010

Google to offer fast Internet broadband

Amy Scott Feb 10, 2010


Kai Ryssdal: Google CEO Eric Schmidt had an op-ed in the Washington Post today. He says we’re not innovating enough in this country. Of course, his company’s innovations, or what Google’s been able to do with other people’s innovations, have put it right at the center of almost every part of our Internet experience. From the videos we watch to the e-mails we send and, obviously, to the search engine we use to look stuff up.

So maybe it was just a matter of time before Google got into the ISP business. That is, Internet Service Provider. Marketplace’s Amy Scott reports.

AMY SCOTT: In a blog post on its Web site, Google sketched out its plan to deliver Internet access to as many as half-a-million homes.

Google says it would be 100 times faster than what most people have today. Fast enough to download a full-length, high-definition movie in less than five minutes.

Doug Williams is an analyst with Forrester Research.

DOUG WILLIAMS: It will allow those things that are kind of painful to do today, it’ll make that experience much more palatable.

And maybe more competitive. Google says it will allow other service providers to use its network. But maybe not out of the goodness of its heart.

BEN SCOTT: Google makes more money when more people are on the Internet using Google products.

Ben Scott is policy director for Free Press, a non-profit public interest group.

SCOTT: I think what they’re trying to do is demonstrate that there’s a marketplace for these applications that use superfast networks, because they want to sell stuff in that market.

But other analysts question whether there is enough of a market for super speedy Internet service.

Analyst Mike Paxton with In-Stat says only a small percentage of people use the bandwidth they have now.

MIKE PAXTON: So you’re talking about 100 times faster. You’re gonna have to say, well, do we even need that much?

Others raise concerns about Google owning too many links in the Internet chain, including how it’s delivered. They say it could restrict competition and raise privacy issues. But so far it’s just an experiment on a small scale.

Right now the Federal Communications Commission is developing a National Broadband Plan. Free Press’s Ben Scott says Google could help set the bar for the kind of speed and openness regulators should be aiming for.

In New York, I’m Amy Scott for Marketplace.

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