Google just unveiled the pricing plans for the super-fast Google Fiber gigabit Internet service it's rolling out in the Kansas Cities in both Missouri and Kansas, and wow, subscribers get a lot for a little. Basic fiber-based gigabit Internet only costs $70; gigabit Internet plus TV (with a full channel lineup) costs $120 per month; and there's even an option to receive totally free Internet for at least 7 years.
Google owns a lot of network infrastructure around the country, and now it looks like they plan to put some of it to work. On the Google blog today, the Mountain View company announced that they plan to offer “experimental” high-speed internet service in select markets. When you hear how fast, you’ll want to be in one of those markets. Google says the new service will offer speeds of around 1 gigabit per second. Just let that sink in. As for price, Google would say only that it would be “competitive”.
The search giant claims only benevolent motives in this course of action. “Our goal is to experiment with new ways to help make Internet access better and faster for everyone,” Google said in the post. Google points specifically to what developers might do with nearly unlimited bandwidth as something they will watch. They also hope to gain experience in running large fiber networks. Google also promises to manage the network in open and non-discriminatory ways. Clearly, Google plans to use this opportunity to showcase how net neutrality should work.
Communities interested in being part of this grand experiment have until March 26th to submit a request for information. Google says they plan to offer the fiber service to at 50,000-500,000 individuals. Both local governments and individuals are able to nominate a community. So maybe go have a chat with your mayor after you submit your own request. How does Google provided broadband make you feel, excited or paranoid?
Verizon is in the process of revamping its FiOS bundles. The new packages will include crazy fast 35Mbps symmetrical speeds. This is the sort of internet access that most of us can only dream of. There is, however, a catch. Verizon is also raising the early termination fee from $179 to $360. This mirrors the recent changes to Verizon’s wireless ETF that got the FCC a little upset.
The new “Prime” packages include the aforementioned speedy 35Mbps internet, phone, and TV with 125 HD channels for $140 per month after the promotional period. Bundles with 25Mbps symmetric and 15/5Mbps speeds are available for $125 and $110 per month respectively.
In some ways, the higher ETF makes more sense for FiOS than wireless. Installing fiber into a home is a pricey proposition, and laying all that fiber in the first place is expensive. This probably contributes to the relative scarcity of FiOS. Would you be able to look past the whopping ETF to get this sort of connection? If there’s FiOS in your area, consider yourself lucky that you even have the option.
Depending on where you check your stats, the US ranks anywhere from 15th to 22nd in broadband speeds, falling way behind other countries such as Iceland, Denmark, and even Canada. The broadband problem in the US gets even worse as you move out further into the rural areas where some communities have the choice of dial up, or if they have a ton of money to burn, super high latency satellite. This is a problem that won’t be solved overnight, but a new bill proposed in Congress last week by Democratic Representative Anna Eshoo, might just be the long term solution everyone is looking for.
The new bill would force governments to build fiber conduit into the sides of all new road projects allowing high-speed connections to flow naturally throughout the country. The costs are expected to be relatively low, since the bulk of the cost associated with laying new fiber is digging up and burying the cables.
Eshoo is the representative pushing the proposal forward in Congress, but doesn’t deserve full credit for the idea. The concept was initially proposed last year in the New America Foundation’s playbook, a guide published by Ben Lennett and Sascha Meinrath who were advisors to the Obama campaign on tech issues. The cost of the fiber optic cables will still be paid by private companies, but it will make for a much more compelling return on investment for fiber deployments in the future.
With all the new roads the Obama administration is proposing to stimulate the economy, this certainly seems like an idea they should implement sooner, rather than later. What do you think?
Every year around late December or early January the internet is bombarded with the top “whatever and such and such” of 2008. Here at Maximum PC we stopped to reflect on our favorite gaming moments, and even cracked the lid on the best of open source; but we never took the time to focus on the hilarious technological flops of the year now past. Luckily however, Tom’s Hardware has put together a fairly comprehensive list. Some of which we can agree with, others perhaps worthy of debate. The list includes:
1.) HD DVD 2.) Nvidia’s Mobile GeForce 8400M and 8600M 3.) iPhone Killers 4.) Windows Vista 5.) Mobile Television 6.) OLED Displays 7.) Phenom X3 8.) The Microsoft Yahoo Proposed Merger 9.) GPGPU 10.) Sony Ericsson XPeria X1 11.) HybridPower: Pseudo-Green 12.) Sony Batteries 13.) Fiber Optics 14.) Non-HD DTT 15.) GTA IV For PC
I’m sure we have more then a few readers that will jump to the defense of some of these items such as Windows Vista and perhaps OLED or Fiber, but it’s hard to argue with the bulk of it.
What do you think should be added or subtracted from the list?
In what may be the biggest thing to happen to cryptography in a very long time, the world’s first computer network built with working quantum encryption technology has been demonstrated in Vienna. The network connects six locations with a total 200 km of fiber optic cable and the encryption system is said to be completely unbreakable, according to the BBC.
The network transmits a stream of millions of individual photons a second through the cable, and can detect if anyone has attempted to listen in on the stream.
Gilles Brassard, of Montreal University explained to the BBC how the system can be unbreakable: “All quantum security schemes are based on the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, on the fact that you cannot measure quantum information without disturbing it. Because of that, one can have a communications channel between two users on which it’s impossible to eavesdrop without creating a disturbance. An eavesdropper would create a mark on it.”
If an intrusion is detected, the data transfer is immediately rerouted through different nodes.
Pretty cool, huh? Let us know what you think of this new technology after the break.
We are consuming huge amounts of bandwidth daily. Just 10 years ago I would have been thrilled with a 4Mb down 512Kb up connection. Today that’s just so-so when it comes to broadband. Downloading video, music, or whatever, is consuming massive amounts of bandwidth and communications companies are working hard to keep up. It’s only going to get more crowded on our current system.
Fiber optics is the big thing for moving large amounts of data around. After all, there isn’t anything that is faster than light (without getting into Quantum physics…). The internet’s current speed woes comes from routing information to its various destinations, not transporting it.
Fiber optics still relies on regular routers to relay information to its correct destination. Where fiber optics can handle frequencies in the terahertz range, electronics work on the gigahertz range. Those pulses of light have to be converted into electrical signals, which are stored, routed, and turned back into optical signals with lasers to be transmitted on. The conversion, besides adding significant cost and complexity, it slows down the data transmission.
So the simple thing to do is to slow light down and remove the needed conversion process. I can hear Han Solo now, “Slow down light speed? Not on this ship brother.”
That is just what researchers are trying to do using "metamaterials". If they can slow down light during the switching process, there would be no need for the electrical conversion step. It could be a first step into building a light based computer.
You can catch the whole article on the BBC website here.