Google Fiber pushes service providers to offer faster Internet
Google's fiber-to-the-premises Gigabit Internet service has already had great success in its debut market. Kansas City residents have enjoyed a 91 percent increase in Internet speeds in the past year, says Pop Herald. The success of Google Fiber has implications far beyond the scope of Kansas City consumers. Consumers across the country will benefit from faster internet speeds as Google Fiber expands its service areas.
Competition pushes providers
A February editorial in The New Yorker noted that telecom giant Comcast Corporation has consumed competitors at an alarming rate. Comcast is already the nation's largest Internet service provider and has shown interest in acquiring rival Time Warner in an attempt to gain further control over the market. Even more troubling is the fact that Comcast's aggressive expansion comes despite widespread complaints from customers about lagging Internet speeds. The New Yorker pointed toward increased competition as the only panacea for the complaints of the consumer.
The growing popularity of Google Fiber seems to be providing the very competitive force needed to get quality Internet connections into the homes of consumers. This phenomenon is most visible in Kansas City. Both Comcast and Time Warner revealed in early August that they would be upgrading customer Internet speeds at no extra cost. Multiple news sources, including TechRepublic and CNET, have attributed this move by telecom providers to the growing threat of Google Fiber.
The bandwidth battle wages on
The industry's fear of Google Fiber becomes even more obvious as Google announces its plans to expand Gigabit connections to additional cities. CNET reports that recently AT&T customers have received offers of free upgrades to Internet speeds and significant rate cuts. It's no surprise that Austin is one Google Fiber's planned sites for expansion. Even customers who choose not to switch to Google's service will benefit as the company brings Gigabit speeds into the mainstream.
Google has announced its plans to bring Google Fiber to 34 cities nationwide. Tech experts are mixed over whether Google aims to merely upset the telecom status quo or throw its hat into the ring as a full-fledged Internet provider. Regardless, consumers are likely to receive better deals from their cable and Internet service providers.
Changes to the telecom industry seem inevitable after the net neutrality battles in Congress pushed new bandwidth possibilities into the public consciousness. Meetings between the Federal Communications Commission's regulators and Verizon, for example, have drawn further attention to the need for more market competition. Reuters reports that Verizon defended its practice of limiting customer data speeds as legal and argued that the practice is widespread among telecom giants. This revealing dialog will likely inspire consumers to push providers to deliver a better product.
CNET notes that Telecom giants have also argued that consumers aren't actually interested in the Gigabit speeds that Google Fiber provides. However, the need for robust bandwidth will only increase as faster Internet speeds allow consumers to get more out of the Internet.