In-demand fiber service coming to only a handful of places
Google has been laying low about plans to bring its exponentially quick Google Fiberservice to areas around the United States, and we took you to its first point of installation in Kansas City back in September to check out the facility and demo for yourself. Since then, the service has only been rolled out to one additional location: Provo, Utah. It's a slow-going process, with Google having only announced one additional locale for 2014: Austin, Texas.
Honoring 20 years of the World Wide Web by looking forward at the future of broadband Internet
Broadband has evolved considerably over the last decade or so in the United States. Whereas just a few years ago, large parts of the country were relegated to pokey 56K dial-up connections over standard phone lines, now multi-megabit broadband connections are commonplace and speed increases are being introduced regularly. In fact, in some test markets, broadband at gigabit speeds is on the way. And yes, that’s gigabits with a “G,” as in roughly 17,800x more bandwidth than 56K dial-up.
Note: This article originally appeared in the February 2013 issue of the magazine.
Google's plans to bring a face-meltingly fast 1Gbps Internet connection to Kansas Cities (in both Missouri and Kansas) took a big step towards becoming reality today. After haggling with city officials about wire placement on utility poles, a deal was finally struck, and the company is ready to get down to brass tacks and start actually laying fiber.
A net neutrality bill may be hacking its way through Washingtonian red tape as we speak, but its long-term success is far from certain. If you remember correctly, one of the matches that lit the neutrality debate was the threat of ISPs charging extra to provide quick access to popular websites like Google. Google, obviously, wants none of that crap. The company's plan to roll out 1Gbps fiber Internet to Kansas Cities (both of them) is not only a great community outreach program, it makes the Goog its own ISP – and the project's one step closer to reality.
If Comcast’s 105Mbps service costs $199.95 per month (in select markets), then naturally 1Gbps service should cost around $2,000 a month right? Well according to scrappy independent ISP sonic.net, $69.99 sounds much more reasonable, and they plan to put their money where their mouth is. The company has committed to rolling out 1Gbps fiber service to around 700 homes in the Sebastopol California area, and will study the results over the next few months to prove that its possible to offer such a high tier of service for $70, and still remain profitable.
In a lot of ways, Verizon's FiOS service has always been about showing off more than it's been about making money. Back in August Verizon proved that again when they created an experimental 1Gbps fiber network in Massachusetts. Now here we are again talking about Verizon's fiber trials. But as DSL Reports tells us, this time they've hit 10Gbps.
The test was done using a pre-release standard XG-PON2 system designed by Alcatel-Lucent. The endpoint of the network was seeing true 10Gb up and downstream connections. This is all well and good, but it's not hitting your street anytime soon. Verizon is still rolling out their 100Mb GPON-based FiOS. The XG-PON2 standard is far from complete as well. XG-PON1 isn't even ratified yet.
Still, it's nice to see this technology exists. It's comforting to know that someday when the rest of our PCs catch up, 10Gb internet may be waiting for us.
Google has just announced the next step in their plans to build out super high-speed fiber internet in the US. The Big G will be building a fiber network capable of 1Gbps speeds for Stanford University's Residential Subdivision. This is a group of about 850 faculty and staff owned home on the Stanford campus. Google will be starting the project in early 2011.
This is separate from Google's Fiber for Communities initiative to gift super broadband to a few small to medium cities around the US. Google clarified that this Stanford rollout was a sort of "beta test" for the eventual fiber deployments elsewhere. We can't say we're surprised, seeing as Google loves their beta tests.
Google decided to go with Stanford because the school was willing to have their streets worked on to install the fiber, it had a manageable number of homes, and it's just so darn close to Google HQ. We also wouldn't be surprised if there were some Stanford Alums working at Google.
If you were to take a stroll along the Columbia river in Oregon. You might find the quaint city of Dalles. In Dalles, is a sizable Google data center. All that data needs some fat pipes to flow through, so The Big G installed dedicated fiber lines to the facility. The only problem is that the hanging fiber lines make tempting targets for bored hunters. For the last few years, Google has been plagued by outages caused by hunters opening fire at the lines each winter.
Whenever these lines are damaged, Google technicians have to make their way into the wilderness to repair them. Some of these locations can be remote, requiring a Caterpillar tractor, or even a helicopter to reach if the weather is poor. On one occasion, some lines were shot down during a snowstorm. The repair crew had to cross-country ski for three days to get to the damage and repair it.
After realizing this was a losing battle, Google recently decided to build an underground channel for the fiber lines. Presumably, the hunter will leave the lines alone if the tantalizing fiber is hidden from their immediate view.
In a Verizon statement today, the company announced that a recent field test of their fiber optic network showed near gigabit speeds. The test was carried out in Taunton, Mass with the help of a business customer. The customer saw speeds of 925Mbps when connected to the local Verizon office. Drop off was not as bad as you might expect. Speeds as high as 800Mbps were recorded with test servers over 400 miles away.
This is Verizon has been able to demonstrate these speeds in a real-life scenario. Google attracted a lot of attention when they started searching for a community to hook up with experimental 1Gbps broadband service. Verizon's accomplishment is different because it uses an existing network, with new gigabit passive optical network (GPON) switches.
Verizon's current FiOS service is offered at 50Mbps, and no word is available on if faster speeds will be rolled out in the wake of this test. Some feel the Taunton test was done mainly to demonstrate that the fiber network could handle future uses like 3DTV. How fast is your home internet service? Are FiOS-level speeds even available to you?
Google began accepting applications from towns and cities back in February to be part of their new high-speed fiber broadband initiative. While the winning municipalities won’t be announce until later this year, Google is looking to help everyone get some faster internet access. To these ends, the search giant is launching the Google Fiber for Communities site.
This isn’t going to be some sort of magical site to get that sweet, sweet Google fiber, but rather a site to help communities get there themselves. Google said in the blog post that they were inspired to do this after seeing the 1,100 community applications and 200,000 individual responses to their fiber initiative. It's nice, but we'd rather have Google do it for us.
The site offers information about federal legislation and zoning that affect fiber deployment. They also link to various organizations that could be of help. We would like to see better connection become common place. Could the Google Fiber for Communities site help us get there?