While a lot of Americans have access to speedy downloads on their cell phone using 4G networks, in many parts of the continental United States, broadband speeds to the home can be slow and often unreliable. While this is arguably unavoidable in some more rural regions, Google took on the challenge of proving that this needn't be the case, and thus Google Fiber was born. This was Google's "experiment" to roll out fiber optic networks capable of offering users both Gigabit speeds down as well as up. Since Google got involved, putting the likes of AT&T and Verizon to shame in some markets, Google Fiber is now no longer just an experiment, and is instead a genuine business, and one that continues to expand.
In a recent piece on the "Gigawars" by USAToday, Dennis Kish, Vice President of Fiber, says that "it is indeed a real business, and it's serving to increase competition as well, and that's something that we don't mind". Google Fiber famously started off as a way for Google to push the usual suspects to offer better services for less, and that's working. Where Fiber is available, competing services from AT&T, such as their GigaPower product, or Verizon's FiOS, often have to lower their prices, increase their speeds or do both in order to compete. This is the sort of outcome that Google was waiting for, but there are many, many more users out there that are waiting for their own Fiber connection from Google themselves. On this, Kish says that "now that we have proven the business model to ourselves, we are expanding" and that the company is "investing in a very thoughtful way".
While Google Fiber might not be available everywhere just yet, or even in 20% of the US, with five cities benefitting from it right now, the business is growing. Fiber is in talks with a number of different cities across the US, and there's potential for many of these to get concrete plans sooner, rather than later. Regardless of how people feel about Google Fiber, it's a business model that goes to that not only can crazy ideas become genuine realities, but that competition isn't always a bad thing. Without Google Fiber, many markets might not have ever seen investment into their local networks, but thanks to this push from Google, we have better Internet speeds than we ever have, and this is only set to continue into the future.