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Who wants to move to KC?
July 26, 2012 12:35 PM   Subscribe

Today Google announced the details of its Google Fiber program (previously), rolling out in Kansas City (both Missouri and Kansas versions) within the next few months.

Currently announced plans are $120/month for 1Gbps up/down Internet and a TV package (which is currently missing some big hitters) or $70 for just the Internet service. A $300 setup fee is currently being waived for those plans, though you can also pay the fee for "free" 5M down/1M up service guaranteed to run for at least 7 years.
posted by kmz (141 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
yay, more bandwidth!
posted by kuatto at 12:39 PM on July 26, 2012


Meanwhile Verizon is agressively driving away its DSL subscribers in hopes of converting them to more expensive LTE service with draconian caps and a brutal overage fee structure. Oh and as a bonus they kill off most of their remaining union labor at the same time.

Anything Google can do to undercut the new/old Ma-Bell duopoly should be cheered wildly. (Google, if you're reading, please choose the DC market for the first expansion!)
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:41 PM on July 26, 2012 [14 favorites]


I was honestly expecting it to be some kind of meal plan.
posted by pwally at 12:42 PM on July 26, 2012 [18 favorites]


no matter how badly the corner geek wants Internet speeds of one gigabit-per-second — 100 times faster than most broadband hook-ups — he won’t be able to get it unless about 10 percent of his neighbors also register for a Google hook-up

Time to visit the neighbors, idly letting a baseball bat drop on one's palm. "This fast internet sounds like a really good idea, don't you think?"
posted by Egg Shen at 12:43 PM on July 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


Probably not coming to an area near me; I'm not sure how the cable companies/Verizon/antiquated municipale franchise laws won't kill this dead. I'm lucky I was able to get FIOS.
posted by Currer Belfry at 12:46 PM on July 26, 2012


FIOS: not available in my area of Manhattan.

Google, are you listening? Manhattan! The densest part of North America! It's close to your telco hotels, and everyone here already hates Verizon, AT&T, and Earthlink/TimeWarner...
posted by pmb at 12:48 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anything Google can do to undercut the new/old Ma-Bell duopoly should be cheered wildly.

This presumes Google is going to do be more responsible, which I don't entirely believe.
posted by eurypteris at 12:48 PM on July 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


I would think 10% of households have at least one seriously addicted Internet user.
posted by stbalbach at 12:49 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


$70/month for 1Gbps up/down (internet only, who cares about TV?)

Please google, take my money. Please.

The sad thing is this should be the norm, not the exception.
posted by smcdow at 12:49 PM on July 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


Meanwhile Verizon leaves a FIOS flyer in my mail-slot about once a week telling me how great their fiber service is, ignoring the fact that they stopped installing fiber in my neighborhood two years ago and never connected my side of the street.
posted by octothorpe at 12:50 PM on July 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


I was honestly expecting it to be some kind of meal plan.

Yeah, I came into this thread all ready for some "STAY OUT OF MY COLON, GOOGLE" outrage.
posted by elizardbits at 12:50 PM on July 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


This presumes Google is going to do be more responsible, which I don't entirely believe.

No caps and/or undisclosed throttling would be all it would take, the x3 speeds is just a bonus.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:50 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Holy balls. 1 Mbps up/down? Dear Google: please come to Canada and destroy our current entrenched internet providers. Destroy them MIGHTILY.
posted by antifuse at 12:51 PM on July 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


undisclosed throttling

I fully expect some legislator to denounce Google Fiber as a cop-killer-bullet of copyright infringement.
posted by Egg Shen at 12:52 PM on July 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


Chicago, Google, Chicago. Our weather would be a great stress-test for you.
posted by WCityMike at 12:53 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I came into this thread all ready for some "STAY OUT OF MY COLON, GOOGLE" outrage.

Introducing the Google Fiber Bar
posted by kmz at 12:54 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]




Holy balls. 1 Mbps up/down? Dear Google: please come to Canada and destroy our current entrenched internet providers. Destroy them MIGHTILY.
posted by antifuse at 12:51 PM on July 26 [+] [!]


I can't even get cable, adsl or cell service where I am.
Best I can manage is some mud slow, shit poor satellite service with a 5 gig cap for 60$ a month and a 300+ installation fee.

Screw you people.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:55 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Google Fiber program

I've been using Apple's iShit for a while now and I'm perfectly happy with it. But if Google's plan includes TP/IP, I'll have to consider it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:55 PM on July 26, 2012 [19 favorites]


Holy balls. 1 Mbps up/down? Dear Google: please come to Canada and destroy our current entrenched internet providers. Destroy them MIGHTILY.

Isn't it 1Gbps?
posted by juiceCake at 12:55 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


antifuse: Holy balls. 1 Mbps up/down?

No. 1,000 Mbps up and down.
posted by gilrain at 12:56 PM on July 26, 2012


The Free Internet for 7 years plan for $300 is most interesting - the speeds are normal, but then the fiber is in and so you're all ready to upgrade to a fast plan when you need to.
posted by memebake at 12:56 PM on July 26, 2012


Wait Google is like physically putting fiber in the ground? Uh. Hold on. I gotta call my broker.
posted by JPD at 12:56 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


One wonders what Google's privacy policy looks like.

(Not that AT&T's is any better.)
posted by entropicamericana at 12:56 PM on July 26, 2012


I live in one of the suburbs in Kansas City and I plan on moving into KC once my lease is up, so I can get access to Google Fiber. I think this is going to be a great move for KCK and KCMO--they should be getting a *lot* of tech folks moving into the city.
posted by angelchrys at 12:57 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, the +TV plan comes with a Nexus 7, to act as a remote control. Both of the paid plans come with 1 TB of Google Drive space (Dropbox-alike), which is a $50/mo alone.
posted by gilrain at 12:57 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Seriously - this is like a free gift from google shareholders to consumers as well as anyone short cable or telco companies.
posted by JPD at 12:57 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was honestly expecting it to be some kind of meal plan.

And I thought it was a new knitting/crocheting collaborative. :(
posted by Melismata at 12:58 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gosh, everything really is up to date in Kansas City.
posted by theodolite at 12:59 PM on July 26, 2012 [16 favorites]


No. 1,000 Mbps up and down.

Err yes, doy. I was in the midst of calculating exactly how much faster that was than the current internet/IPTV connection I have (for which I pay more than $120/month) and the sadness distracted me.
posted by antifuse at 1:01 PM on July 26, 2012


gilrain: "antifuse: Holy balls. 1 Mbps up/down?

No. 1,000 Mbps up and down.
"

Pfft - call me when it's NINE THOUSAND!!!!
posted by symbioid at 1:02 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


And you can see some *real* fancy shows, or so I hear.
posted by symbioid at 1:03 PM on July 26, 2012


And yeah, I know a LOT of people who would be perfectly happy with "pay $300 once and get 7 years of guaranteed free 5m down/1m up" service. Just about everybody in my family that sits in my mom's generation, for a start.
posted by antifuse at 1:03 PM on July 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


I live in St. Louis. Lots of old timers here like to talk about how St. Louis was ALMOST bigger than Chicago -- coulda been -- if only the city leaders had embraced the railroad here instead of foolishly clinging to the riverboats, letting that windy Illinois backwater stealthily gain the upper hand.

Now someday the old people are going to be going on about how St. Louis COULD have been bigger than Kansas City.

So it goes. Meanwhile I'll keep paying handsome monopoly-inflated sums to my cable company (the ONLY high speed internet provider in my neighborhood) for their slow, slow service.
posted by BlueJae at 1:03 PM on July 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Clueless ignorance on display here; Why would you want broadband that quick? I have 1 Mbps at home now. It's fine for gaming. Video is snappy with hardly a delay. The only reason I can see where it would benefit me would be "borrowing" Blu Ray movies from anonymous internet friends. Otherwise everything else is fast enough.
posted by Keith Talent at 1:11 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd be more than happy with half, a quarter, or even an eighth of that speed. I'm on 12mbps DSL now and I rarely make use of all that bandwidth. The places that I download from just don't have the ability to upload to me that fast.

I hope they expand this and offer slower speeds at lower prices. The lack of caps and throttling would be the real draw for me. If the $300 setup fee/5mbps option were a little bit faster, that's probably what I would use.

I wonder how much having better/faster internet access will impact their ad/search business in KC since ad/search revenue is basically ALL of Google's profit. It seems to me that the use access to content to sell ads model worked somewhere else for a while in the past...
posted by VTX at 1:11 PM on July 26, 2012


Broadband is like a highway - the more capacity there is the more interesting ways to use it people will come up with.

My question to the pros out there - Comparing FIOS and Google Fiber - what is the big difference in capital equipment? Is the fiber itself different or just all of the other boxes that use the fiber?
posted by JPD at 1:15 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why would you want broadband that quick?
I love this question. Let's rewind 10 years: Why would I want broadband Internet service? All I do is read emails and maybe load the occasional website with photos. My 2400 baud modem is fast enough.

What is awesome about 1Gbps to the doorstep is that I HAVEN'T GOT A CLUE WHAT PEOPLE WILL USE IT FOR. But I bet it'll be freaking cool as hell.
posted by Inkoate at 1:16 PM on July 26, 2012 [26 favorites]


The stuff that would take advantage of 1 Gbps internet doesn't even exist yet. I'm not even sure what it would be. Maybe something like Steam, except you don't even download and install the game, but just start playing it though the program ten seconds after you buy it? Instant seek on streaming 1080p?
posted by theodolite at 1:17 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Clueless ignorance on display here; Why would you want broadband that quick? I have 1 Mbps at home now. It's fine for gaming.

Part of the idea, I think, is that you could substitute a lot of things for "gaming" and "1Mbps" and someone would think it true at any given point in time: I've got a 56k modem! I can read the news online! Why would I ever want to upgrade? And then Youtube comes along, and...

Having the capacity to handle larger and faster data transfers makes things possible, even if we can't say -- even if Google cant' say -- what they are, yet: it enables innovation.
posted by cjelli at 1:17 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Clueless ignorance on display here; Why would you want broadband that quick? I have 1 Mbps at home now. It's fine for gaming. Video is snappy with hardly a delay. The only reason I can see where it would benefit me would be "borrowing" Blu Ray movies from anonymous internet friends. Otherwise everything else is fast enough.

Because backing up Gigabytes of data, your system, and your applications, quickly and efficiently, per day, to the cloud in addition to your local backups, one of which you place in a safe every day in case of theft or fire, is clueless ignorance.
posted by juiceCake at 1:18 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wait Google is like physically putting fiber in the ground? Uh. Hold on. I gotta call my broker.

Google's been buying dark fiber for awhile now. Because they're not idiots.
posted by odinsdream at 1:19 PM on July 26, 2012


Clueless ignorance on display here; Why would you want broadband that quick? I have 1 Mbps at home now

For me? Streaming HD video at 1Mbps would be simply... insufficient. As it is, uploading large batches of high resolution photos to Flickr is somewhat painfullly slow with my current connection (which is capped at 1 Mbps upstream). Do I need 1 Gbps to make those things more palatable? Nope. But I'd settle for even 100 Mbps at the price that Google is charging.

But those concerns aside... Do you never download ANY large, legal files? Videos that you don't want to stream, for example. Or games from Steam that you want to install on your PC. Or OS updates that run in the 100's of megabytes. Even 100 megabytes, at 1.5 Mbps, would take about 9 minutes. At 1 Gbps? 0.84 seconds. My god, imagine being able to back up your (legal) mp3 collection to the cloud in minutes or hours, instead of days or weeks!
posted by antifuse at 1:20 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why would you want broadband that quick? I have 1 Mbps at home now.

I've found the upload speed matters more for general web snappiness. That's why DSL can feel very sluggish, because of rather slow upload speeds.
posted by smackfu at 1:21 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Google's been buying dark fiber for awhile now. Because they're not idiots.

Nah - the PR I just read said the plan on spending about 1 bil running fiber to the home as part of this deal.
posted by JPD at 1:22 PM on July 26, 2012


(Google, if you're reading, please choose the DC market for the first expansion!)

God knows how they're actually doing this, or why Kansas City is first. But frankly I'm a little surprised DC wasn't the pilot market. Telecom companies LOVE to roll out broadband stuff in the DC suburbs first (not actual DC mind you) because that makes it easier to show it to Congresspeople to back up their whole "we're innovating like crazy so don't make us compete" argument.
posted by Naberius at 1:22 PM on July 26, 2012


Also, my girlfriend has 3MB DSL at her place and watching 1080p video on the Apple TV can take minutes to start. On my 20 MB Comcast, nothing buffers more than 5 seconds.
posted by smackfu at 1:22 PM on July 26, 2012


This is why.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:23 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


They announced that they were going to do this a couple of years ago in mid-sized cities. They're testing it, which is why it's not in large cities/markets now.

I wish NM could get in on the digital age, but there are a lot of loud tinfoil hat wearing people here.
posted by backwords at 1:25 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


At 1Gbps, how do they stop you from just starting your own ISP and setting up your whole neighborhood with Wi-Fi for like, $5/mo? If they only require 10% adoption, then that's a lot of people who'd love reasonably high speed internet (~2-3Mbps) who'd pay for the convenience, while you make a nice little chunk of change.
posted by hincandenza at 1:26 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was honestly expecting it to be some kind of meal plan.
posted by pwally at 3:42 PM on July 26

Yeah, I came into this thread all ready for some "STAY OUT OF MY COLON, GOOGLE" outrage.
posted by elizardbits at 3:50 PM on July 26


Thank goodness I wasn't the only one. That said:

Hey, Google? Louisville here. We'd love to invite you and your Fiber out here to visit us. Come, sit a spell on the porch, take your shoes off. Care for some fried chicken? Have you heard about the fine quality of our bourbon? No? What about the incomparable quality of our, er, recreational smokes? Trust me, ours is far better than anything you folks could possibly get out of Humboldt County. I've got some, uh, cousins that can help you out with that. Gimme a call on Google Voice, you've got my number....
posted by magstheaxe at 1:27 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


hincandenza: "At 1Gbps, how do they stop you from just starting your own ISP and setting up your whole neighborhood with Wi-Fi for like, $5/mo?"
Terrorism laws.
posted by brokkr at 1:29 PM on July 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


God. Comcast makes Verizon seem like a reasonable and charitable company.

Seriously, Google. Come down to DC. We've got a whole city full of people who loathe the only Cable Company/ISP in town* (Verizon never even bothered building out its DSL network in most of the city, and we're currently the last city planned for a FiOS rollout -- they're aiming to be done by 2022, but can't promise to cover the whole city. I'm not making that up.)
posted by schmod at 1:31 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've said this elsewhere, but I'm worried that this will take off in bigger cities, seriously cut into the established telecoms' profits, and in response the telecoms will squeeze every last dime and bit of control out of the residents of smaller cities in their death throes. Especially those cities that have granted cable companies monopolies, or are so small that there's only one provider that bothered to set up shop. I just can't see Google rolling this out fast enough to prevent that.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:33 PM on July 26, 2012


Okay, lots of good reasons to want quicker broadband. High bandwidth media prime among them. The disconnect for me is that even with a *shitty* connection, I can bring more media into my house than I can consume. My brain/eyes are the slow part of the equation, I can currently d/l multiple HD movies in the time it takes me to watch one, which sets up an exponential growth in my backlog.

I guess that was kinda my point, broadband never needs to be quicker than I can consume media.

w/r/t uploading pics to Flickr, they cap the upload so they are the bottle neck even if I was uploading over a 56.6 and a phone line.
posted by Keith Talent at 1:42 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


At 1Gbps, how do they stop you from just starting your own ISP and setting up your whole neighborhood with Wi-Fi for like, $5/mo? If they only require 10% adoption, then that's a lot of people who'd love reasonably high speed internet (~2-3Mbps) who'd pay for the convenience, while you make a nice little chunk of change.

Because Google's 5Mbps plan that is also on the Fiber network is less than $5.00 a month. What about billing and technical support of the start up ISP? Won't that raise the price? You have to hire staff for tech support, have phones, etc.

The cost of WiFi equipment that can effectively cover an entire neighbourhood might be costly to the ISP. Then there are security concerns and keeping on top of that.

Doesn't sound like a good business model.
posted by juiceCake at 1:43 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I want rid of Time Warner Cable so badly I can taste it, so Google service is looking pretty damn good. I'll miss IFC and AMC, though.
posted by terrierhead at 1:44 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nah - the PR I just read said the plan on spending about 1 bil running fiber to the home as part of this deal.

FTTH is not considered the same thing as backbone dark fiber. Those costs seem to only reflect the cost of running the fiber from the nodes to individual houses.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 1:44 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


The disconnect for me is that even with a *shitty* connection, I can bring more media into my house than I can consume.

I guess that was kinda my point, broadband never needs to be quicker than I can consume media.


Try to think of a situation where something was great for someone else but wasn't the case for you. Try to think of a situation where you've had different needs than someone else and so have different stuff, took different courses, etc. I'm sure you must be familiar with at least one person who lives differently than yourself. Then there will be no disconnect.
posted by juiceCake at 1:46 PM on July 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Google has or will have ways of detecting violations of their TOS (which presumably precludes people from subletting their internet), much the same way wireless carriers can detect if you're using a device as a hotspot.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:46 PM on July 26, 2012


I have family in Chattanooga, where a local utilities company offers fibre internet. The snappiness is amazing. The pricing is not as good as google which is hardly surprising.

30Mbps = $57.99
50Mbps = $69.99
100Mbps = $139.99
1000Mbps = $349.99

I personally think the lower tier packages are overpriced, but that the 1Gbps package price isn't too bad. For comparison in my neck of the woods, I pay $29.99 CAD for 6Mbps DSL.
posted by Harpocrates at 1:46 PM on July 26, 2012


FTTH is not considered the same thing as backbone dark fiber

Right, that's basically what I was getting at. The Dark Fiber they bought is only a small part of the capital a project like this will require. but its FTTH that blows up the economics of the business. It is where the preponderance of capital ends up being.

This will be a great boon for consumers, but unless Cable and Telco say "fuck it we're out" this is going to create an epic price war.
posted by JPD at 1:49 PM on July 26, 2012


I can currently d/l multiple HD movies in the time it takes me to watch one.

I presume you mean in the time it takes you to "get around to" watching one - as a 1Mbps connection would take roughly 10-11 hours to download your average 720p movie (about 5 gigabytes).

w/r/t uploading pics to Flickr, they cap the upload so they are the bottle neck even if I was uploading over a 56.6 and a phone line.

They do? I've never hit an upload cap with Flickr. Oh, wait, you're probably talking about a free account. Yes, in that case, sure. But that's not my situation at all. I could regularly upload gigs upon gigs of photos to Flickr, though fallen behind with organizing/editing/etc my photos and have let my Flickr account suffer as a result..
posted by antifuse at 1:50 PM on July 26, 2012


The stuff that would take advantage of 1 Gbps internet doesn't even exist yet.

Yeah. From what they're saying over on Hacker News, with broadband this speed it starts to get faster than the local (spin-style) hard drive. You could boot from the Cloud faster than you could boot from your C: drive! The potential for turning everything upside down is huge.
posted by memebake at 1:50 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


with broadband this speed it starts to get faster than the local (spin-style) hard drive

Wait, there are people that still don't use SSDs as boot drives? What do they do with the 45 minutes it takes Win7 to boot from cold?

/hermberger
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 1:53 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Who runs Win7?

/double hermberger mit cheese
posted by entropicamericana at 1:57 PM on July 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Maybe something like Steam, except you don't even download and install the game, but just start playing it though the program ten seconds after you buy it?

You're looking for OnLive. I don't actually use the service, but I've used a friend's account and it seems pretty solid. The "console" that you can hook up to your TV is actually pretty cool. I'm mostly holding out for one of their rare "pre-order this game and get a free console" promotions. I don't want to drop the $99 for the console by itself.
posted by owtytrof at 2:00 PM on July 26, 2012


theodolite: "The stuff that would take advantage of 1 Gbps internet doesn't even exist yet. I'm not even sure what it would be. Maybe something like Steam, except you don't even download and install the game, but just start playing it though the program ten seconds after you buy it? Instant seek on streaming 1080p?"

It's called Onlive. Or Gaikai.

And why WOULDN'T you want instant seek streaming at 1080p? I mean for reals!
posted by symbioid at 2:03 PM on July 26, 2012


/ermagehrd hermberger
posted by symbioid at 2:10 PM on July 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


Superfast internet also enables things like smooth fast forward in HD streamed videos.
posted by smackfu at 2:15 PM on July 26, 2012


The stuff that would take advantage of 1 Gbps internet doesn't even exist yet.

I think you need to think of this beyond the word "internet". Think of it as "everything". TV, Video on demand, Phone, Radio, Internet, etc.

The thing that's the massive consumer of that pipe is TV, particularly high def, particularly when you are doing something that used to be trivial, i.e. changing channels quickly. At 1Gbps you are obliterating one of the key hurdles for efficiently pushing TV in a super user-friendly way.

God, $70/month. KC never looked better.
posted by mcstayinskool at 2:18 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm lucky enough to not only have a decent cable company, but to also be less than 100 wire feet from the nearest Uverse box. Neither at&t nor Cox have caps draconian enough to come even close to impacting me despite constantly streaming and downloading HD media. Nonetheless, I am still very jealous. Especially of the upload. 25Mbps downstream has proven itself quite sufficient. Not that I would complain about a free upgrade to 50 if it were offered.

No, the revolutionary aspect of this is the symmetrical speed. The tier pricing is fairly normal, although each tier has higher speeds. Google can get away with that. They already have a nationwide internal network, so extra Mbps are essentially free to them at the moment. The real cost is in laying the fiber throughout the city to everyone's home.

Muni fiber operations have to pay more to recover the increased cost of bandwidth and the cost of installation. Still, both LUS and Chattanooga are super cheap for what you get.
posted by wierdo at 2:19 PM on July 26, 2012


I also love the idea of downloading a linux distrubution in like 10 seconds. But I doubt this is the core of their business model.
posted by mcstayinskool at 2:20 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, and I should mention that 1Gbps is completely unnecessary for IPTV service. You can easily deliver 4 HD streams and still have 50Mbps or more left over for Internet.
posted by wierdo at 2:21 PM on July 26, 2012


$70 for 1GBPS? Holy shit, that's like five bucks more than I pay Verizon to give me DSL speeds over terribly maintained fiber-optics. Google, take my money.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:24 PM on July 26, 2012


I love the idea of having gigabit-ready connectivity to the home. That being said, I'll likely stick with the 5MB/s service.

I've been using the U-verse 6MB/s service, and it blows away the 20MB/s cable service I used to get for real world usage. My torrents (linux DVDs, of course) run slower, but everything else is zippier, and I think that's because the FTTN build-out has greater capacity, and less competition for bandwidth... I was streaming netflix while downloading Mountain Lion, and while the download took some time, it wasn't excessive, and I never had an issue streaming video. I doubt I'd notice a drop to 5 MB/s.

That being said, I think it's silly to think that the 5MB/s will suffice FOREVER - and if you give me symmetric 1000MBs service, I WILL suddenly have lots of home-based servers... Things like streaming my music/video collection from my house suddenly become more feasible. It would be possible for me to sync files between home/work with no third party intermediary. The bandwidth opens up use cases that weren't necessarily possible before...

For example, with enough people using 1GBs services, I could see things like bittorrent being replaced/augmented with replicated/encrypted/collective storage... Think of it as a hadoop implementation across several households with LOTS of replicas... A multi-petabyte shared drive, accessible via a single namespace.

I'm sure that there are plenty of other things like this that aren't feasible to the average consumer now, but when you price 1GBPs service to the area where it's competitive with cable/telco running at not even a tenth of the speed, it changes quite a bit.
posted by MysticMCJ at 2:29 PM on July 26, 2012


(Seriously, to the guy who bemoaned not having FiOS in DC proper - we've got it in the 'burbs. They charge $65 a month for 5 Mbps. Not fifty. FIVE.)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:30 PM on July 26, 2012


People who are all "WHY KANSAS CITY?" should read this blog post from March.
posted by sparkletone at 2:34 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Andrei Codrescu was right about Kansas City.
posted by pjenks at 2:40 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


To put this in perspective: at the ISP I worked for, we'd charge tens of thousands a month for a gig e fiber connection.
posted by empath at 2:43 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why would you want broadband that quick?

One thing I've heard is that internet speed (both bandwidth and lag) is a bit of a bottleneck in companies like google unrolling powerful apps that operate in the cloud. Google knows processor farms. INstead of Dell making money selling people expensive laptops, maybe Google allows people to buy cheap devices spend the difference on Google allowing them to use those base machines to do incredibly demanding stuff by offloading the real grunt behind the graphics and CPU to Google processor farms in the cloud?
posted by -harlequin- at 2:46 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


theodolite: "The stuff that would take advantage of 1 Gbps internet doesn't even exist yet. I'm not even sure what it would be. Maybe something like Steam, except you don't even download and install the game, but just start playing it though the program ten seconds after you buy it? Instant seek on streaming 1080p?"

I just saw a glimpse of the future. It's... it's full of stars...
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:47 PM on July 26, 2012


Harpocrates:
100Mbps = $139.99
1000Mbps = $349.99

I personally think the lower tier packages are overpriced, but that the 1Gbps package price isn't too bad. For comparison in my neck of the woods, I pay $29.99 CAD for 6Mbps DSL.
Four years ago we connected our building block to a local ISP who dug fiber cable into our block and then lined each staircase with 100/100 Mbps connections. Granted, we were 8 apartments sharing that 100/100 connection but in practice the intartubes were never clogged. Upgrading to gigabit can be done by simply changing the router in the basement, but that didn't really make sense back in 2008.

Price? About 12 USD/month. Behold the power of co-ops.
posted by brokkr at 2:48 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


memebake: "Yeah. From what they're saying over on Hacker News, with broadband this speed it starts to get faster than the local (spin-style) hard drive. "

Coincidentally, uncompressed HD video is already significantly in excess of the spindle speed of a consumer-grade hard drive.

Not that anyone slings around uncompressed HD video, but that should give you an idea of the amount of data involved.... For now, the biggest challenge to streaming video is bitrate and overcompression; not resolution.
posted by schmod at 2:48 PM on July 26, 2012


It's kind of funny how we're boomeranging back to the "five giant computers in the world, plus a ton of dumb terminals" model of the 1960s.
posted by theodolite at 2:49 PM on July 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


maybe Google allows people to buy cheap devices spend the difference on Google allowing them to use those base machines to do incredibly demanding stuff by offloading the real grunt behind the graphics and CPU to Google processor farms in the cloud?

Yeah, this kind of internet infrastructure would take Google's Project Glass to a whole other level.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:49 PM on July 26, 2012


This presumes Google is going to do be more responsible, which I don't entirely believe

Than who? the "Worst Company in America", or the guys that signed an agreement to bring FIOS to DC in '09 and said we'd have installations within the year, yet I can't find out if it's even anywhere in DC yet (and that's not even touching their "cramming & slamming" issues). You could change "Google" to "Snidely Whiplash Enterprises" in the OP and I'd still be excited at the prospect of dropping Comcast/Verizon.
posted by Challahtronix at 2:55 PM on July 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm part of a group of students who were brought to Chattanooga to figure out how Chattanoogans could put their newfangled 1Gbps fiber network to good use. Right now, only 25 customers are paying for the 1Gbps package (10 home users and 15 businesses).

The fiber itself is radically underused right now. They ran enough fiber to each plot of land (read "each house) for multiple 1Gbps connections, so you could get more if you wanted. The internet backbone that runs though chattanooga only runs at 10Gbps right now, and that's the limiting factor according to sources at the local telecom provider.

We're trying to convince the fiber provider to offer super-cheap packages that would let you use 1Gbps connections within a giant "intranet" just for Chattanooga. Imagine sending files to your friend across town at 1Gbps for a few extra dollars per month.
posted by cmchap at 2:59 PM on July 26, 2012


Hmm, home video editing instant (cloud-farmed) effects rendering and playback would be something I'd be interested in... today.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:00 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I welcome this (cute video, too), but I sure know this will never come to central Mississippi, where I live in an affluent suburban community.

Personally, my neighborhood is screwed. As far as ATT goes, we only have DSL access. Here's the kicker: I can't upgrade my speed since all of their circuits are in use; no open/faster spaces are available. ATT also offers Uverse, but it has not reached us and no one is promising when/if that will happen.

So, that leaves Comcrap (er, cast), who I'd rather not spend any more money with, with an astronomical bill for just a few cable channels. I don't like their bait-n-switch pricing method "oh, you'll pay us just X for 6 months, then double that for a year, and we're likely to go above that."

So, yay for competition, but we're still slow.
posted by fijiwriter at 3:05 PM on July 26, 2012


an also pay the [$420] fee for "free" 5M down/1M up service guaranteed to run for at least 7 years

120 miles east of Kansas City, I just paid $450 for a single year of DSL at 6M down/0.5M up. If only we'd had a better flash mob.
posted by PueExMachina at 3:07 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Damn it, now I want a hamburger for dinner.
posted by adamdschneider at 3:08 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't decide which I should do:
a) immediately quit my job, kill all my critters, and move to lovely 104-degree KC. (They got some crazy little bandwidth there, and I'm gonna get me some.)
or
b) sit here quietly and patiently for several years, dreaming of the day Google Fiber eventually rolls into town accompanied by the theme from The Magnificent Seven and stomps the living shit out of Charter cable until it whimpers for sweet merciful death.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:26 PM on July 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


c) set up a laser on a tower in KC that beams the connection direct to your existing home.

It might require a tall tower to get the necessary line-of-sight...
posted by -harlequin- at 3:32 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


The DDOS'ing is going to be epic!
posted by -harlequin- at 3:39 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Less DDOS'ing, more Light of Judgment.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:41 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Seeing this made me wonder what was happening with Gig.U. Looks like there has been progress in a few cities, but nothing very solid yet. Sadly, my new hometown seems to have given up on it.
posted by PueExMachina at 3:43 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Funny how Google hired some smart guys from Bell Labs and now they seem to be turning into AT&T.
posted by A dead Quaker at 3:57 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I DON'T CARE GOOGLE EVIL BS JUST STICK THE FIBER IN MY FUCKING VEINS.

Right now there's a cool map (click Pre-Register) that is ranking the neighborhoods on how many people have signed up. I totally spent time outside my building trying to get people to sign up. Community activism mixed with consumerism feels great!

Google also has a store in midtown/Westport where you can demo all their stuff right now. I'm about to head over there, but I have a feeling it will be a zoo. It is kind of weird, they're also selling food and stuff from local restaurants. They're just trying to endear themselves to the local populace. If I make it over there, I will let everyone know what a Google retail location looks like (also, I myself cannot register as I apparently don't exist in the Google address system, so I actually need to talk to someone at Google to get that fixed, and that feels so weird typing out, going to a Google store to get something fixed).

I don't care about the 1Gbps, as much as I would love the low latency and a cable box that doesn't have crappy UI. And everyone has seen what comes with the top tier package? The ability to dvr 8 channels at once, a storage device, the cloud storage, a Nexus tablet, plus each head unit acts as a wifi/firewall so there's one less device. AND you can put your own media on the Google storage device and play it from anywhere. This alone is worth the price of admission.

I was skeptical about the free Internet. Google is definitely trying to play a good Samaritan and get people who aren't online, online. We can argue all we want about Google profiting in the end about more people online, the fact of the matter is that they're trying to get an underserved population with the rest of us.

Case in point, my friend lives in KCK and is most certainly the only one on his block with the internet. His neighbor is a mechanic who works out of his house and was complaining about finding some autopart in town. My friend pulled out his iPhone, googled the part number and found a site that not only listed the part but how to install it. He was amazed, yet still couldn't justify $70/mo (getting a used computer for free actually isn't the problem). He would totally get online for the $300 for 7 years of internet and I think there's a huge swath of the population who would manage to find an internet capable device if they didn't have a monthly fee, which isn't even addressing the issue of people who can't get online due to credit issues, etc.

The fact that Google started in KCK and not in JoCo or the rich suburbs is awesome, and in my mind, keeps them well above existing providers who haven't even paid lip service to the otherside of the digital divide.

Well, okay, I'm a bit just happy I can get rid of Time Warner and a bunch of new toys, ask me about Google Fiber in two years.
posted by geoff. at 4:06 PM on July 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


google unrolling powerful apps that operate in the cloud
Cool, this company is getting more control over parts of the internet that we rely on so that it can get more control over parts of the internet that we rely on
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 4:16 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Huh, I have heard of this thing called regulation. It might make sense in the last mile.
posted by wierdo at 4:18 PM on July 26, 2012


I think someone just had an accident in my fiberhood!

(I just had to say "fiberhood")
posted by symbioid at 4:20 PM on July 26, 2012


All your privacy are belong to Google.
posted by palbo at 4:29 PM on July 26, 2012


@weirdo

but this is the internet! things don't work the same way here!
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 4:31 PM on July 26, 2012


I'd be more sympathetic to that argument if I had any illusions about Verizon or Comcast giving two shits for my privacy.

Besides, Google already has their tendrils into so much of what I do online anyway that turning them into my ISP is a net win if you look at online privacy as a product of the number of companies looking at your data, how much of your data they see, and how much you trust each one.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:33 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I love how all the coastal dwellers are getting their panties in a bunch today: "WAAAHHHH! why does Kansas City get Google Fiber? HURF DURF COWS AND CORNFIELDS!" I believe I read a comment on the NYTimes website that said something akin to "Kansas doesn't deserve Google Fiber. They don't even believe in evolution" Oy vey....

I'm uber-stoked for this new development. However I do hope that many of our low-income neighborhoods are not left out of this revolution. I think it's wonderful that Google is providing free gFiber access to schools and community centers in the winning preliminary fiberhoods, but the schools that could benefit the most are located in fiberhoods with the least amount of initial support, obviously.

.geoff, my house is also invisible to the gFiber powers-that-be, even though I live about a mile and a half away from the headquarters on 43rd street. Bummer.
posted by chara at 4:38 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm curious to know the over subscription ratio, and the size of the broadcast domain.

I'm sure it's going to run ipv6. That'll be kinda cool.
posted by roboton666 at 5:34 PM on July 26, 2012


If i were google I'd market this as "South Korean internet speeds now available in the US"
No reason not to call out US telcoms for being greedy and a rotten value
posted by Fupped Duck at 5:57 PM on July 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Comparing anybody to the country whose national sport requires a broadband connection is kind of cheating.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:42 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can't even get cable, adsl or cell service where I am.
Best I can manage is some mud slow, shit poor satellite service with a 5 gig cap for 60$ a month and a 300+ installation fee.

Screw you people.
Hey! I'm in this club too! I'd write a little more about the Never Getting Bandwidth Sadface Satellite Club, but it's almost time for my ISP to close and I have to hit "Post Comment" now so this will go through in 3 hours.
posted by byanyothername at 7:30 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Never Getting Broadband Sadface Satellite Club

HI SLEEP DEPRIVATION!

But the other thing is actually true, too. Hi 250 MB/day cap!
posted by byanyothername at 7:31 PM on July 26, 2012


pjenks: Andrei Codrescu was right about Kansas City.

Trying in vain to get Real media from npr.org to play really takes me back. Maybe it would work better on 1Gbps.
posted by absqua at 8:36 PM on July 26, 2012


The stuff that would take advantage of 1 Gbps internet doesn't even exist yet.-- theodolite

I remember when Google first proposed this idea, they said that one of the purposes was just to see what people would do with all this speed. Google may even use it as a test bed for various ideas that require a lot of bandwidth.

Google's been buying dark fiber for awhile now. Because they're not idiots.
--odinsdream

Nah - the PR I just read said the plan on spending about 1 bil running fiber to the home as part of this deal.--JPD

Actually you are both right. There was a telecom bubble that ended in 2001. Lots of companies were going to replace the AT&Ts of the country and put in a lot of fiber connecting the major cities of the US. When a lot of these companies went under in 2001, Google bought up a lot of this fiber for very, very little money. I presume they mostly use it to connect their search servers together, but it provides a nice network if they want to make themselves into an Internet Service Provider.

You still need to connect that Internet backhaul fiber to people's houses. That's where they are spending the 1 billion.
posted by eye of newt at 9:27 PM on July 26, 2012


Apparently Kansas City changed it's name to "google" for a day. I thought I remember hearing about that, but actually that was Topeka, Kanas - which resulted in Google changing it's name to Topeka for a day as well. But apparently they didn't get picked

Google is smart in working with city governments, and making this a competitive process. And doing it in a public way, as well. Most of the time, these deals get done in the back rooms, with Verizon/AT&T/Comcast just bribing politicians. In fact, in PA, for example it's actually illegal for local cities to setup create their own networks by hand! Either WiFi or whatever.

Instead of bribing politicians to grant monopolies so that shitty companies can squeeze as much revenue as possible out of a captive set of "consumers" they're actually offering a product so good at such a reasonable price that politicians are seeking them out in order to suck up to their voters.

Anyway. As other people mentioned, if you have a 1Gbps network connection, you don't even need a hard drive.

One obvious example of something you could do with it: watch 4k videos on youtube at full resolution.

Another option: you could send and receive multiple HD streams at once, so you could multiple HD video "chatrooms" with friends, like google+ hangouts now, but without any central server and crazy high quality.

Video editors could telecommute.

Video game content wouldn't need to be compressed down to fit on a set of DVDs or a huge steam download: A game world could be terabytes in size, and you'd just download the stuff you need on demand.

Ultimately, though there's only so much bandwidth that the human brain can take in. Once you can stream raw video so high res that your eyes couldn't tell if the resolution was increased, anything you could do on your home computer, you could do remotely, maybe with just slightly more lag (but, if the servers are hosted nearby, you might not even notice the lag)

So the only thing that might be an issue is if there is ever going to be some kind of 'consumer' application for large scale datamining at home. Seems pretty unlikely. Right now, hard drive space is still cheaper for storing data then 'cloud' space (10 cents/gb per month mo vs. like 5 cents/gb forever)

Maybe sending and receiving volumetric 3D data for 3D printers, although I don't know how likely that would be.
posted by delmoi at 10:17 PM on July 26, 2012


Fupped Duck: If i were google I'd market this as "South Korean internet speeds now available in the US".
Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish: Comparing anybody to the country whose national sport requires a broadband connection is kind of cheating.
What came first, the broadband or the national sport that requires it?
posted by brokkr at 12:54 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


At 1Gbps, how do they stop you from just starting your own ISP and setting up your whole neighborhood with Wi-Fi for like, $5/mo?

I am betting that would be fine. At these prices bigG isn't making a profit on the network, they want eyeballs and users to get locked in to their services. If you can spread the network for them, they'd be delighted.
posted by bystander at 1:15 AM on July 27, 2012


Dear Google,

Please:

1. Bring this to the UK, post haste. We have a small, densely populated island, but fast broadband and non-BT infrastructure is hard to find outside of major cities.

2. When you do, please set it up in my small, South Coast town. Seriously, the boradband connection to Arundel comes down a wet piece of string. I have money, plesae take it.

Lots of love,
Fucking Everybody
posted by generichuman at 1:30 AM on July 27, 2012


Anyway. As other people mentioned, if you have a 1Gbps network connection, you don't even need a hard drive.

Well, except when the internet goes down. :P
posted by antifuse at 6:22 AM on July 27, 2012


I'm pretty sure the data stored on the other end is on some sort of storage device as well...
posted by juiceCake at 9:02 AM on July 27, 2012


eurypteris: Anything Google can do to undercut the new/old Ma-Bell duopoly should be cheered wildly.

This presumes Google is going to do be more responsible, which I don't entirely believe.
I firmly believe that more competition = better choices for the consumer, so I'm siding with "Go Google!".
posted by IAmBroom at 9:12 AM on July 27, 2012


I firmly believe that more competition = better choices for the consumer, so I'm siding with "Go Google!".

I hate comcast et al as much as the next guy, but how can you compete with someone that gives away a product for free? It sounds like dumping, and i wonder if it's not illegal.

Google has done this in the past a few times, though. Get into an industry with an established product, make a new one, give it out for free because you're huge and have infinite money to burn, bury the competition and turn it into a race to the bottom, and infest everything with fucking ads.

Short term it's probably gonna be great for customers. Long term, you better hope they don't become monopolic and then they decide you shouldn't really have anything to hide. Aren't they putting a whole bunch of money on lobbyists already?
posted by palbo at 10:03 AM on July 27, 2012


Why would you want broadband that quick?
I love this question. Let's rewind 10 years: Why would I want broadband Internet service? All I do is read emails and maybe load the occasional website with photos. My 2400 baud modem is fast enough.
I have to disagree. I had a fancy 2400 baud modem - with data compression - in the pre-web days, and my recollection is that there was never even one second in human history when that was "fast enough" for anything at all. In fact, given the way the web and dialup modems developed in history, none of the standards that followed were ever "fast enough" either. I think most of the net users who eschewed broadband in the last days of dialup were probably motivated by cost, not by any sense that dialup was "fast enough."

On the other hand, the web itself cannot keep up with my low-grade residential broadband connection, which really is fast enough, in the sense that it's never the bottleneck in any activity.

1Gbs upstream, for backups and such, is a little bit interesting. But it's still not fast enough to eliminate the wait for uploading video and high-res photos, for example, which means you'll be best served by software that does such things for you in the background, so you're not waiting around. But that means you no longer care so much how fast your connection is.

I think expanding connectivity in general - through cheaper access, through long-range wireless services, etc., would be more interesting than gigantic bandwidth.
posted by Western Infidels at 10:35 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


palbo:
Short term it's probably gonna be great for customers. Long term, you better hope they don't become monopolic and then they decide you shouldn't really have anything to hide. Aren't they putting a whole bunch of money on lobbyists already?
Like every other major provider, yes.

And, yes I do hope they don't become monopolic. There is that threat. But right now I feel like the market is oligarchic anyway, so I still hold that another competitor is generically a good thing.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:05 AM on July 27, 2012


But that means you no longer care so much how fast your connection is.

Not me. Let's say it takes 30 minutes to back 100GB to an external hard drive via eSATA 1 or USB 2/3.

During that 30 minutes one does not have to sit around and wait.

Now if it takes 30 hours to do the same thing over the Internet, sure, you don't have to sit around and wait, but it takes 30 hours. You can't do a backup every day and by the time one backup is over you need to initiate the next, so your backups are constant.

If it takes 30 minutes, 15 minutes, etc. over the Internet, you can back up twice a day if you like, but certainly once no problem.
posted by juiceCake at 11:26 AM on July 27, 2012


I think expanding connectivity in general - through cheaper access, through long-range wireless services, etc., would be more interesting than gigantic bandwidth.

Like the $300 for 5 up/1 down for 7 years?
posted by jaduncan at 12:17 PM on July 27, 2012


And, yes I do hope they don't become monopolic. There is that threat. But right now I feel like the market is oligarchic anyway, so I still hold that another competitor is generically a good thing.

This is an interesting point though - yes it is an oligopoly, but they have never been able to exercise any real pricing power. Its cost the cable guys and the telcos absolute heap loads of capital to build the networks they have, but because marginal cost is pretty close to zero it is basically impossible to raise prices to improve profitability. A third player is even worse. It will be interesting to see what the game plan is. I mean the only way it isn't a debacle is if the incumbents stop investing in their networks and allow GOOG to become a monopoly. It remains to be seen if they have some plan for profiting from that monopoly in a way other than raising prices. They might?
posted by JPD at 12:45 PM on July 27, 2012


1Gbs upstream, for backups and such, is a little bit interesting. But it's still not fast enough to eliminate the wait for uploading video and high-res photos, for example, which means you'll be best served by software that does such things for you in the background, so you're not waiting around. But that means you no longer care so much how fast your connection is.

100 photos @ 18 megapixel, in jpeg fine, from my Canon 60D is 500 megabytes. That is *4 seconds* to upload at 1Gbps. And that's at full resolution/fine jpeg detail. At Facebook resolution? The same number of files (which is fairly reasonable for a Facebook album upload) would take 0.13 seconds). HD video at around 4 GB/hour is a fairly common expected standard, so a 2 hour HD video of your kid's school concert would take 1 minute, 8 seconds to upload.

I think it's pretty safe to say that you've eliminated the wait. But really, at that point you definitely are going to be limited by your hard drive speed. I think you're probably limited to about 0.6-0.75 gbps with a regular ol' non-SSD hard drive. Which is still orders of magnitude faster (and still 0.2 seconds for that Facebook photo album). You've still pretty much eliminated your wait time, for all intents and purposes. I don't think your average person will be overly put out by having to wait for a 2 minute upload time for a 2 hour video (and on average, what's the length of videos that people upload to the net? I would say 15 minutes is a LONG video, in general. So cut that upload time to 8 seconds at full bandwidth, or 13 seconds if you don't have an SSD).
posted by antifuse at 12:53 PM on July 27, 2012


juiceCake: Now if it takes 30 hours to do the same thing over the Internet, sure, you don't have to sit around and wait, but it takes 30 hours. You can't do a backup every day and by the time one backup is over you need to initiate the next, so your backups are constant.
I think a differential backup system (rsync, robocopy) would buy you many orders of magnitude of performance and completely outshine the improvement that a gigabit connection would. And you can have it now, on today's internet.
antifuse: HD video at around 4 GB/hour is a fairly common expected standard, so a 2 hour HD video of your kid's school concert would take 1 minute, 8 seconds to upload ... But really, at that point you definitely are going to be limited by your hard drive speed.
You might be limited by someone's hard drive speed. Is the site you're uploading to likely to be designed to accept uploads that fast? Residential internet in the 100Mbit range have been common in Korea and Japan for years, but the web as a whole hasn't sped up just because some people have such connections.

I'm not hostile to the idea of faster broadband. I just don't think it's as exciting or as potentially important as the things the Internet has already done, and it seems sort of sad. Google completely trasmuted the web we know today, and this just isn't ambitious in the same way.
posted by Western Infidels at 3:29 PM on July 27, 2012


Western Infidels: "I have to disagree. I had a fancy 2400 baud modem - with data compression - in the pre-web days, and my recollection is that there was never even one second in human history when that was "fast enough" for anything at all. In fact, given the way the web and dialup modems developed in history, none of the standards that followed were ever "fast enough" either. I think most of the net users who eschewed broadband in the last days of dialup were probably motivated by cost, not by any sense that dialup was "fast enough.""

There was a time in the mid '90s where I was spending weekends in one house and the week in another. At the weekday house, I had a Pentium 75 with 16MB of memory, 4GB of disk and a 33.6kbps modem. (my ISP was still only 28.8, but I wanted to be prepared!)

At the other, I had the only ISA modem I still owned (in a 486). It was a 2400bps modem with compression. It was even too slow for IRC. Not the file swapping kind of IRC, but the chatting with your friends kind. It often lagged a few seconds behind. Thankfully, my ISP still offered shell accounts in those days, so at least I didn't have to deal with all the traffic, but it was still dog slow.

As far as backups go, I know about off site backups with rsync. My servers spend about 5 hours every day backing themselves up. And that's just the delta. (Also, transferring the data needed to calculate the delta takes time..much less at 1Gbps)

Here's the thing. 1Gbps is almost as fast as the SATA link on hard drives from a few years ago. It is faster than most spinny disks. (Drives with 1TB platters can probably keep up on sequential reads and writes due to increased areal density over the 250MB and 500MB platters) It is so fast that most people won't be able to use it all unless they've got multiple computers doing things at the same time. That's what they call a transparent network. That should always be our goal, getting the network out of the way.
posted by wierdo at 4:15 PM on July 27, 2012


JGC: yes it is an oligopoly, but they have never been able to exercise any real pricing power. Its cost the cable guys and the telcos absolute heap loads of capital to build the networks they have, but because marginal cost is pretty close to zero it is basically impossible to raise prices to improve profitability.

No pricing power? What the hell, man? Telcos and cablecos are some of the most abusive and evil monopolies we have ever had. They extract rents left and right in service of picking the consumers' pockets as fast as possible. Free example: text messages. Used to be 10 cents per. Now 20. Did the network get more expensive? Did their capital investment get larger? Did fewer people start using this service, making them need to charge more to cover their fixed costs? No, no, and no. They raised prices because they could. Their investment was largely recouped by the networks' original purposes: phones and tvs. Internet service was a value-added service that they could offer largely for free.

A little history is useful here. In the early 2000's, a man named Michael Powell (son of Colin) was chair of the FCC. By all reports he was not dumb, even though his appointment was pretty clearly nepotism. What he was, was a libertarian. He thought that instead of artificially forcing phone companies to compete amongst each other (via FCC rules) in what was pretty clearly a natural monopoly, he could just remove the rules and let the monopoly form. Harm to the consumer would be prevented because the cable companies (which would slowly form a monopoly in the cable medium), would compete against the phone companies (which would themselves soon reform into AT&T in a sort of slow-motion corporate T-2000 move), and a third player would soon appear to compete against both. In predictions, the third player was either going to be wireless broadband or broadband-over-power-lines or fiber-to-the-home (too slow, too noisy, and corrupt as hell, respectively, prevented those three things from rolling out).

This mythical third player has never materialized, and it turns out that an entrenched duopoly is just as good as a monopoly at preventing market innovation. Korea has fast cheap Internet, Japan has fast cheap Internet, France has fast cheap Internet, many other countries in Europe have fast cheap Internet (and many others don't). The US doesn't. A third player in this market is required to break the two-player stalemate that has developed to the detriment of us all. If that third player is Google, then God bless 'em. I live in the densest part of North America, and I can't get anything faster than 7M/1M Time Warner cable, the phone company's DSL is laughable compared to even that, and available speeds haven't changed in 5+ years. The incumbents have chosen to make money off their existing network instead of investing to improve it because they don't have to compete with anyone besides each other.
posted by pmb at 9:22 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


You might be limited by someone's hard drive speed. Is the site you're uploading to likely to be designed to accept uploads that fast?
Presumably? Why not? You can break the video up and store chunks on multiple hard drives across your data center pretty easily, a kind of super-RAID.
I'm not hostile to the idea of faster broadband. I just don't think it's as exciting or as potentially important as the things the Internet has already done,
Well, the tech that's in place today is optimized for the current bandwidth. Just like how in the modem days video was rare, and now it's all over the place.
and it seems sort of sad. Google completely trasmuted the web we know today, and this just isn't ambitious in the same way.
It seems sad? Youtube was a huge advance, but it was dependent on people having the bandwidth to use it. The space advances you can make when people have more bandwidth is always going to be larger if people have faster connections.

Also, currently I don't really think internet video is as good as it can be. Youtube has HD video, but not everyone can really stream it. And even in 1080p youtube video will have a lot of artifacts (really noticeable if you watch, for example, starcraft games).
No pricing power? What the hell, man? Telcos and cablecos are some of the most abusive and evil monopolies we have ever had. They extract rents left and right in service of picking the consumers' pockets as fast as possible. Free example: text messages. Used to be 10 cents per. Now 20. Did the network get more expensive? Did their capital investment get larger? Did fewer people start using this service, making them need to charge more to cover their fixed costs? No, no, and no. They raised prices because they could. Their investment was largely recouped by the networks' original purposes: phones and tvs. Internet service was a value-added service that they could offer largely for free.
JPD sounds like he works for the phone company or something. It's amazing how something that's bad for the industry you work for suddenly seems terrible for everyone. Look at the debate over SOPA, or Net neutrality, whatever.

When companies 'over-compete' and drive themselves out of business by offering prices so low, it's fantastic for the consumer: they're essentially transferring wealth from investors to customers. That can happen with companies entering new markets too: I don't think any video gamers would argue it was a bad thing that Microsoft entered the game console market.

Telcos don't need to invest in new infrastructure if there's no competition, and on top of that even if they did they could place artificial restrictions. Even if they could get gigabit speeds for $10/mo they'll charge $50 for 50mb and $100 for 100mb and put in caps just to raise more capital.

Rather then trying to give people faster speeds, they're actually lobbying to end net neutrality so they can cut off people's access to things so they can offer more expensive replacements. Their "innovation" is in the lobbying department.

Now, all that could well be a debacle if you work for the phone company, sure.
posted by delmoi at 9:45 PM on July 27, 2012


Just look at Justin.tv/twitch.tv if you want to know how people are going to use the bandwidth. Multiple streams of 24/7 high def video, up and down, from everyone in the planet, because why not? it'll be the death of network television, we'll all just be watching each other.
posted by empath at 3:15 AM on July 28, 2012


[sarcasm]Yeah I work for the phone company [/sarcasm]

Just because something is expensive doesn't mean its pricing like a monopoly. Go look at the 10-k for a telco or a cable company and get back to me on how they are earning monopolistic profits.

And at no point did I ever say anything about net neutrality or SOPA.
posted by JPD at 6:43 AM on July 28, 2012


Also Mobile Telephony (AKA Text Messages) is a distinct business from Wireline/Cable.
posted by JPD at 6:44 AM on July 28, 2012



This mythical third player has never materialized, and it turns out that an entrenched duopoly is just as good as a monopoly at preventing market innovation.


This is a complete mischaracterization of how the economics of broadband competition work. The reason why broadband has not rolled out at the rate you want isn't because of profits, but rather the lack of profits. Increasing bandwidth permits the two pipe owners, Cable and Telco to compete with one another, but once the pipe is in place the marginal cost of the service is very close to zero, as a result they just enter into this mutually assured destruction scenario where they just keep pricing down to the cash cost of marginal supply. The end result is you don't come close to covering the capital costs of the original investment, and since these entities are all debt financed you end up bankrupting the company (to see this on a smaller level look at the fiber guys from the late 90's). So then the only rational thing for them to do is not roll out fiber at all (or really slow enough to provide a credible threat to the other incumbent) since they can't or won't collude to divvy up territory between them. Its a prisoners dilemma and the rational decision for them is to both do nothing.

If you really want broadband you want to promote tightly regulated local monopolies that earn utility rates of return on their capital investment. A third player just makes everyone go bankrupt more quickly. Unless the new entrant is somehow permanently below the other two on the cost curve, either because its entirely equity financed by someone who has a lower cost of equity or it somehow has a lower marginal cost (not likely in this case), but then the result of that become the other two competitors liquidating and you ending up with a monopoly.
posted by JPD at 6:57 AM on July 28, 2012


Free example: text messages. Used to be 10 cents per. Now 20.

People still pay for text messages? Up here in Canadia, you can't actually get a plan without unlimited messaging (at least, not with my provider [Rogers] - other providers may vary). Text messaging has become one of those things that people up here just don't expect to pay for any more.
posted by antifuse at 9:12 AM on July 28, 2012


@theodolite they've gone about as far as you can go.
posted by luvcraft at 11:30 AM on July 28, 2012


Up here in Canadia, you can't actually get a plan without unlimited messaging (at least, not with my provider [Rogers] - other providers may vary).

The Rogers owned company Fido has plans that charge for outgoing text messages above a certain volume. Bell has plans without unlimited messaging as well. Both have absurd Internet caps. Thankfully in some cities we have Mobilicity and Wind for mobile and Teksavvy for Internet.
posted by juiceCake at 2:36 PM on July 28, 2012


The Rogers owned company Fido has plans that charge for outgoing text messages above a certain volume. Bell has plans without unlimited messaging as well. Both have absurd Internet caps. Thankfully in some cities we have Mobilicity and Wind for mobile and Teksavvy for Internet.

I always forget about Fido. They were an interesting company when they first came out, the first digital provider. Then Rogers bought them and they became "Discount Rogers" - bleh.

I got fooled by the Bell plans looking at their page - I looked at the "voice only plans" and the "promo plans" (which are voice & data for smart phones and "super phones") - it's the "voice & data plans" that don't seem to have unlimited messaging (well, one plan does). Man, and I thought *Rogers* had some crappy plans. Wind and Mobilicity have awesome plans, but their network coverage needs to improve a teeensy bit. Also, phone selection isn't as big with either of them on AWS, but they *do* have the Galaxy S III and Nexus.
posted by antifuse at 6:06 PM on July 28, 2012


pmb: " Free example: text messages. Used to be 10 cents per. Now 20."

This is actually one of the worst examples of abusive pricing by wireless carriers that you could possibly have chosen. Text messages, unlike regular data, are carried over the network's control channel. The same one that pages your phone to let you know you're getting a call. The same one your phone uses to ask the network to please connect you to your friend. High text messaging prices are there to discourage excessive unplanned use.

If too many people use data, data speed slows down. If too many people text, every device is impacted, even if it's been otherwise idle and now only needs to tell the network it's still on before the timer expires and calls start being sent directly to voicemail.

I think the best example is their international roaming and dialing rates. Rather than calling rates being just marginally more expensive than what you'd pay with a decent landline or VoIP long distance company (decent meaning the kind that use legitimate/legal routes in and out), it's literally ten times the price to call long distance, and you only get that great rate if you pay them $3 a month for the privilege of being gouged slightly less.

Roaming is even worse. It's one thing if you're talking about roaming on a cruise ship, where INMARSAT and the cruise company charge them $5 a minute to transport your calls. It's another thing entirely if you're talking about a country where the prices charged to the home carrier are not unreasonably high. My SO spent around $120 a week on roaming and data charges last time we were overseas. (her company pays for it, so it's not her problem..I use a local phone and forward my US number to it for about 15c a minute) The true incremental cost to at&t for her calling? Probably between 10 and 20 cents a minute, or about 1/15th what they actually charge. The data charges were likely even less.

Before T-Mobile borged VoiceStream and VoiceStream borged OmniPoint, one could actually take a phone from the US overseas without wanting to commit suicide upon seeing the financial ruin brought upon you by the price gouging of the wireless carriers. By contrast, their domestic charges are downright reasonable.
posted by wierdo at 8:52 PM on July 28, 2012


JPD: "The reason why broadband has not rolled out at the rate you want isn't because of profits, but rather the lack of profits. Increasing bandwidth permits the two pipe owners, Cable and Telco to compete with one another, but once the pipe is in place the marginal cost of the service is very close to zero, as a result they just enter into this mutually assured destruction scenario where they just keep pricing down to the cash cost of marginal supply. The end result is you don't come close to covering the capital costs of the original investment, and since these entities are all debt financed you end up bankrupting the company"

Luckily, the vast majority of the capital cost can be recovered through their terribly highly priced TV service. Which is why they actually spent all that money in the first place. The Internet part is just a sideshow for wireline customers even today. It's a small part of their spend and a small part of their profit.

Obviously, the economics are quite different for smaller providers, but for the at&t, Verizon, Windstream, CenturyTel, Comcast, TWC, and Coxes of this world who all have their own nationwide IP networks that they bought for a song from the many failed fiber ventures, it's a minor cost.

Cable companies didn't put in HFC for Internet service, they put it in so they could wedge more video channels on their networks. It just so happened that running the fiber about town and increasing the bandwidth of the infrastructure opened up more space for DOCSIS. at&t didn't build out U-Verse so they could sell you a better Internet package. They built it to you so they could sell you video. The last-mile costs of Internet service are largely buried in the cost of provisioning the more lucrative services. The costs for upstream bandwidth are trivial, as is the cost of running a nationwide IP backbone if you have any scale to the organization.

Building it costs billions. Few of the current players did much of their own building. AT&T did, and look what it got them. Bought by their own spawn.
posted by wierdo at 9:03 PM on July 28, 2012


A bit late, but I'm on Google Fiber right now, it is pretty awesome and incredibly fast. I'm definitely limited by my WiFi card, but the latency is amazing.
posted by geoff. at 5:14 PM on August 6, 2012


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