The announcement by Google that it would delve into the Broadband ISP arena in select markets is quite interesting in the fact that it looks to be marrying a public advocacy with a public initiative, and where it counts the most, in broadband infrastructure. To me it seems more of a logical move, putting your money into a venture which supports your core competency, Internet openness, proliferation, adoption, and access.
In addition, Google (Public, Nasdaq: GOOG) seems to be promoting its core legislative agenda of having a free and open internet along with proposed high speeds that would be 100 times faster than most other ISPs. Does it matter that the initiative will not access every home in the United States, not particularly? The point remains that Google is transparently moving to promote broadband proliferation at speeds only accustomed to users outside the United States, such as Europe and Japan.
It is an experiment, albeit small and concerted with a maximum 500,000 customer goal; the initiative could have lasting ramifications within the ISP community. Per Google’s press release their agenda has three goals:
• To test developer apps and what they can do a super high speeds
• To test new ways of deploying fiber networks while sharing that information for deployments elsewhere
• To promote open Internet access to give users access to multiple providers therefore aligning with their advocacy
The RFI associated with the company’s test specifically asks for municipal participation where inadequate funds or expertise hindered startup of those plans. While it is not time to jump on the competition bandwagon with this small test sample, it does make for interesting news which could spur more future competition within the marketplace. It also has the research criteria desired to bring in collaboration and innovation that all markets need in moving to the next level. It will also serve to enhance the existing ISP’s step up their game.
There is nothing more refreshing in business than having a company willing to put up capital in promoting an agenda to help both itself and the majority of current and future Internet users, in bringing next generation communications to the forefront of development and deployment. I like the move Google’s made, but it, along with many other ventures will have to stand the test of viability, acceptance, bottom line financials, expertise, and research and development to be successful. But most of all, I’m impressed with marrying its advocacy with initiative.