Google Fiber is a project by the Internet search giant to provide gigabit speed Internet access to selected cities around the U.S. Gigabit Internet speeds are approximately ten times faster than what most people are currently receiving through their DSL and cable providers. Internet at this speed is a game changer because it allows individuals to stream Internet video, upload files, and search the web at breakneck speeds.
Google also hopes to provide Internet access to those who traditionally have been underserved by giving slower Internet access away for free and only charging a modest installation fee. This is an attempt to democratize innovation. Children who might have only been able to access the Internet at the public library can now search for information on their home computers.
The current state of the Internet for most of the United States is a patchwork of service that is overpriced, underpowered, and deliberately capped for the sake of corporate profit. Bandwidth is arbitrarily limited solely to increase revenues by cable and telephone service providers. Multiple studies and reviews by experts in technology have proven that the cable providers in the U.S. are not facing a bandwidth problem and that 97% profits are being made by overcharging customers.
Google Fiber hopes to turn the tide by providing healthy competition to this monopolized and crippled market. Once the consumer gets used to gigabit Internet speeds at reasonable prices, he or she won't accept the bandwidth caps and crippling speeds imposed by the cable providers. Capitalism and the market economy sometimes do work.
Before Google Fiber was rolled out, one major cable company was experimenting with bandwidth caps for home service in an attempt to extort even more money out of its consumers. Now those plans have been scrapped. Their monopoly is being threatened. That's a good thing.
The cost of hooking up every city in the U.S. to Google Fiber is beyond its capacity. Its genius is its ability to inspire local municipalities and others to respond to the demand for an Internet that is like our public highway system--one that is open, free, and accessible to all for the greater good of the nation. Google's foray into providing affordable and high quality Internet access may be a real paradigm shift for a nation that has become stagnant with respect to Internet speed compared with nations like South Korea which is vastly better connected.
For the U.S., the current Internet infrastructure makes us less competitive. It is time that changed. Since the government is currently in bed with the cable providers, it is up to all of us to demand more and expect more from our cable providers. Thank God Google is leading the way to help us enable that demand.