Monday, June 8, 2009

Google submits initial comments supporting a National Broadband Plan

Open, ubiquitous broadband connectivity holds the promise to catapult America to the next level of competitiveness, productivity, education, health, and security -- but how do we get there from here?

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deliver to Congress a National Broadband Plan by February 2010. This represents a golden opportunity for policymakers and all Americans to take a hard look at the current state of broadband deployment and uptake, and begin laying the groundwork for a communications infrastructure truly capable of meeting the demands of the 21st century. Today Google submitted to the FCC our initial thoughts for how we might do just that.

As part of a comprehensive broadband policy framework, we believe that our government should adopt a bold yet achievable goal for making high-speed Internet capabilities available to each and every American. Our comments call for all American households to have access, by 2012, to at least 5 Mbps upload and download speeds over broadband. We believe that a 5 Mbps benchmark is an ambitious yet attainable first-step, and that even more challenging benchmarks with much higher capacity levels may well be necessary over the course of the next decade. If this benchmark is accomplished -- so that today's unserved or underserved consumers become tomorrow's broadband customers -- we will have truly become an always-on nation.

In addition to laying out a suggested public policy framework, our comments also describe four concrete proposals that we believe would help advance this vision:
  • Install broadband fiber as part of every federally-funded infrastructure project. By some estimates nearly 90 percent of the cost of deploying fiber is associated with construction costs like tearing up and repairing roads. The National Broadband Plan should require the installation of broadband fiber as part of all new federally-funded infrastructure projects. Laying fiber -- or even simply installing the conduit for later fiber deployment, as Rep. Anna Eshoo has suggested -- during the construction or repair of roads and other public works projects will dramatically reduce deployment costs. And it's just good common sense.
  • Deploy broadband fiber to every library, school, community health care center, and public housing facility in the United States. Low-income Americans are increasingly left out of the digital revolution. The National Broadband Plan should call for the deployment of high-speed fiber connections to every library, school, community health care center, and public housing facility in the country. This would create community hub centers nationwide, providing access to underserved populations and potentially acting as a springboard for more widespread broadband adoption in these communities.
  • Create incentives for providers to install multiple lines of fiber as new networks are rolled out. The Commission should offer incentives to providers wishing to build new network infrastructure to lay cable containing multiple fibers. These unused fibers could in turn be leased or sold to other network operators, increasing competition along with deployment.
  • Encourage greater wireless broadband and reduce barriers to deployment. Last November, the FCC paved the way for "white spaces" spectrum to be used to deliver better and faster wireless broadband connections to American consumers. The Commission should encourage use of unlicensed devices in "white spaces" spectrum by eliminating unnecessary requirements and easing interference standards in rural areas where no actual harmful interference would occur.
Our comments also note that using broadband as an optimal Internet platform will require both considerable focus and substantial resources, both private and public. In short, there is no "silver bullet" solution. Instead, some projects will depend on market forces and companies investing private capital to construct new infrastructure (like Verizon's FiOS platform), while others will require direct government involvement through subsidies or regulatory mandates. Still others will require a mix of public and private involvement.

In developing a National Broadband Plan, the FCC has the opportunity to embark on a fresh course to ensure our nation's digital infrastructure fully meets our 21st century opportunities and challenges.


Collin1000 said...

Now use some of those billions to help us pay for it.

Ben Nuttall said...

Sounds like the US is taking a step in the right direction, and it's encouraging to see Google backing, supporting and advising this development.

I read on BBC News that a similar project is under way here in the UK, with emphasis on increasing the speed in the major cities, through research into the efficiency of the next generation of cable technology. They mentioned testing speeds up to 1Gbs if I remember rightly!

ajr901 said...

screw the FCC! Just let google do it! (and pay for it)

Famagist said...

Just great Google. You guys do EVERYTHING and it is so awesome
-From Rodcats Media

enriqueenciso said...

In mexico the electricity government company CFE develop the carriers of carriers with presence in 98% of the territory,and we have the theme of campaign internet free for alls for cover 50% of poverty population for training in world university free on line like,job and comunication in an emergency plan for 2012 or before.
we are in the world Google Thanks you

Ravi said...

We also need short or medium term solution to make media and internet services available to every citizen of the world.
Companies like Google can really help to create more hotspots, not just in US, but everywhere in the world, in partnership with local businesses and Governments or NGOs.

Happy said...

Really, just build a quad satallite that rotates and put them up about every 100 miles away from each other. They have a potential of reaching up to 150 to 200 miles distance and that is for a small satallite, imagine using the old 12' satallites on the same set up. You could reach up to 250-500 miles. No need for fiber optics or any wires period. Give everyone a broadband card, start taking away from the computers for everyone in other countrys. Give them to our kids, and there you go! Everyone has broadband, and everyone should have a computer.

Florence said...

I live in a place I like to call RRA: Really Rural America. While the proposals outlined here may help in underserved urban and suburban areas, there are some gaps if you believe that Really Rural Americans also deserve broadband. To begin with, the fiber in federally financed projects won't bring any of the stuff into our towns and roads, because RRA is spread out away from roads that are major enough to be involved with Federal highway funds. The nearest Interstate Highway from my house is more than 28 miles away, and I live in relatively dense New England. For Wyoming or Idaho, those distances could be even greater.

The essential Rural problem is that there aren't enough of us to make a profitable customer base for the infrastructure. Our town of 125 households doesn't represent an opportunity for utilities. If electrification hadn't been a government priority half a century ago, we'd still be reading by kerosene lantern.

Ed said...

Now only if we had good Wifi we won't need our choppy cell phone providers. We can skype our way into the future using basic WiFi phones. Seriously the cell phone tower reception sucks! I'm sure the money we spent overseas for the war could have cover this over 10 folds but who is counting their pennies at a time we we could afford millions each day to post troops in foreign soil.

Charlene / Bobby said...


Paramendra Bhagat said...

Taking Broadband To Every American: What Google And The Feds Can Do

ktow said...

That looks great.

As a residential "dsl" customer- (Who ever heard of 312k dsl?)

Do you think we will continue to have the internet as a pay for access plan or will there be viable options for those with limited resources?

What made television great was the availability to the masses without a monthly bill, yet $50 a month for internet is a tough pill to swallow for many American families.

I wish we could provide high quality internet to all kids (high school teacher here) that had computers.

What if we went wireless instead of wired- with public access?

Spritemoney said...

i think in the public area they should use alternative browsers, mainly firefox, because firefox is supported, i'm not saying chrome, or safari is bad, but i think the public area should use alternatives browsers

Jakob said...

Nice solutions!

Heath said...

I would really like to see wimax be avaliable to every person. The speed that google is looking to get would be easily acheved with a fiber backing. The effective range is five miles for each tower. The wimax service could be offered free if the users were asked to pay a rental fee for the wixmax basestation.

Ann said...

I do believe internet access will spur the growth of the United States. It has changed culture worldwide, and is sad to see people denied access due to geography. I support a plan to wire up the country, to bring access to a world of information to one in Burneyville, Oklahoma.

Anton Wahlman said...

Why should "public housing" get free broadband? I don't get free broadband. I have to pay for it. Is there any incentive left to work in this country? If you're poor, you get free health care (Medicaid), free food (food stamps), free housing (public housing), free education (government schools), and free access to public parks. And now free broadband? What's next -- free cars, free clothing? There are $10 million mansions in Los Gatos or Woodside that don't get broadband, but people who refuse to work and live off the taxpayer should somehow have the rest of us pay for them to get broadband? What has happened to this country?

Grant Buell said...

Right, poor people are poor because they simply REFUSE TO WORK. There are so many jobs just sitting there waiting to be filled, if only people would go take them! Get real.

ktow said...

In regards to those that would say no to free broadband.

In education alone, how do schools better equip students to be technologically literate if we worry about a child's access to internet?

How do those same students access materials that require website posting, research, and interaction with peers?

Free internet sounds ridiculous to some and yes it would be abused in some cases, but wow! what if it were available to all.

We offer free access to our libraries online, why not in all homes?

I realize not all homes have computers- I would concede that we draw the line somewhere- families should provide their own computer.

I think the argument for free internet could be similar for the lack of tolls on interstate.

They are a product that benefit all users.

**Here's a wild idea- charge sales tax on internet transactions- then put that money towards providing public broadband.
(Local businesses would rejoice and equity would come to the internet.)

asal said...

"If electrification hadn't been a government priority half a century ago, we'd still be reading by kerosene lantern."

I could draw a similar line to what broadband might mean to americans 50 years from now. It may seem like a novelty now, but somewhere along the line it blurs to necessity.

B said...

And I'll leave my 2 cents here as well. First, I'd like to say everyone has great opinions here. Google has put forth something. But there is a huge cost here. How to offset those costs would be first. We could not use pennies anymore, for instance. Doesn't it cost more to make a penny than it's worth? I hate the penny.

2nd, we have the greatest interstate infrastructer on Earth with China very rapidly closing in. Why not utilize already federal (basicly) property? Lay the fiber there, and use it like roads and hwys. They were all dirt at one point.

3rd, redudancy. Oh man, I can see it now, wreck on I-40 shuts down eastern seaboard broadband access. We need to use it all: satallite; old ma bell lines; cable lines; fiber lines. And it also is going to depend on local terrain. I like wifi the best, and it seems where everyone is headed anyway. We broadcast radio, TV, cell phones, and gps signals. Seems to me we could broadcast the interweb too. I think someone mentioned computers... well there is a solution in place. They have a laptop computer that someone has designed that has a crank. It lasts about 15 minutes or so. It relays the wifi signal to other people that have the same laptop. I know they use it in 3rd world countries. It costs a little less than $100. Just throwing it out there.

4th, whatever happened to the plan where they were going to pipe in the internet through electrical lines? That seems like a perfect solution to our real americans living out there in rural communities, at least until we get the light pipe to them.

Finally, I hope that something happens here. This could be what our courty is looking for. Something that people can invest in. Something people can earn a wage, and pay their bills, and feed their family with. Something that we can all look back on and say, "when I was your age, we had to pay for the internet." We live in the age of information, surely there is an answer out there.

Gunnery Sergeant Chimichanga said...

And regulate Internet Service as a public utility. It clearly is one and we need to protect consumers.

Brad Bowman said...

Right on track Google...

Government Technologies - Digital Communities - Broadband Nation

Helene said...

Nice idea, Google, but as someone who has worked in telecom, I think I need to point something out (and I'm sure you know this already): Where are you going to put the fiber? On distribution poles that are either owned by the ILECs or the utilities or co-owned? The ILECs do not cooperate - any of the smaller CLECs that have tried to work with the ILECs since the Telecom Act of 1996 have found that out. They either do slow downs, do not do surveys or makeready in a timely manner or make it so expensive to do business with them that it's not worth it at all. If you want to put the fiber into the rights of way on the roads, the costs to trench those in are prohibitive also. Railroad rights of way are the same (plus they require ROW Insurance). The cable companies as well as the ILECs will fight you also. The other thing is this - what communities are YOU talking about? Running fiber (and putting boosters in at regen sites) is very expensive out in really rural areas. When the potential customer base is 10s vs. 1000s, where's the business model there? Verizon left the entire state of Maine because of the costs to serve what is 90% rural muskeg. And they had been the ILEC for over a 100 years - and got the rights of way, etc. for free! The only way to make this work is to make this public - and pay for everything out of government money and have government infrastructure - because what we have right now, dependent on the cooperation of private corporations -

Chad said...

Looks like Google put their money where their mouth is. Kudos to you, Google!

freelanceanimators said...

Only Google could send a message like this to the ISP's who won't give us want we want. Thank you Google.

SKASSIS said...

this is exactly what i've been preaching, that because of the powerful educational aspect of the internet, access should be a basic human right to knowledge and information, mostly paid for by tax payers and advertisers. no companies should really be charging for internet access and getting rich from it, though we still need to find funds to build the infrastructure, thoughtfully, and responsibly.

L said...

Thank you Google!! I hope my county will also get the benefits of having your services here, in west Florida, as well as Sarasota.
I think I saw you in my wifi window but well... I could not connect to you during your trial test.
I got a prt sc shot of your high connection which was occupying all the bar while my neighbours FIOS Verizon connections were occupying only less than half of the bar.

I will email to FCC to see if that will help since, from April 11, 2010, my 5,17, 29,and 44Kbps dial up connection was giving me panic attacks and too much stress so, now I will have to use the free wifi that Tax Collector offices offer.

Greetings from Manatee County and wishing you well in your business and community service nationwide proyect.
LK Manatee County 34205

Barry said...

This is really a smart a idea...and it can only benefit everyone :)

1. The economy stinks right now...and reading through these comments it seems that people are wondering about the taxes accompanied by such a huge project. What they are forgetting, however, is that internet access has the ability to create business, millions of jobs and lift entire economies. See India's economy for instance.

2. Google's investment in this project would, of all internet-based companies, help Google. I don't think there exists one sane internet user who hasn't used the Google search engine.

3. Hey! Check it out...more businesses, more employment, more innovation/education, greater communication, more hits on Google, more revenue for the government and more votes for the government for fixing the economy! Everyone is happy! Hoorah! Conclusion: there should be ubiquitous internet access.

CB said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you Google!

I have watched and read articles for years on the success of Google's undersea cable initiatives. I often thought and wished I had the money to light up some dark fiber, lay some more fiber and connect to the internet unimpeded by the telco/cable monopoly/duopoly. Such a company will make multiple hundreds of billions in profit even if that service is offered at Japanese monthly rates.

I watched the Telecommunications Act of 1996 get watered down by industry lobbyists to the point that it was useless. During the same period, the Japanese wisely de-regulated NTT and by the year 2000, Japanese consumers were receiving 100Mbps/100Mbps internet access for $55 per month. By 2006, those same fortunate Japanese residential consumers were receiving 1Gbps / 1Gbps for $52 per month after swapping out their Fiber modems.

Contrast that to the USA, were no markets truly function in a manner that makes economic sense, especially not the Cable/Telcom service markets. Where the FCC defines "broadband" as anything faster then an antiquated 768Kbps, yet allow Cable providers and telecoms to restrict bandwidth to less the that definition. Where a consumer pays for 16Mbps/2Mbps from their cable company only to learn that their bandwidth is restricted as soon as the speed test ends to 384Kbps/101Kbps (with random spikes higher from time to time). Of course, American consumers that do not run DD-WRT, OpenWRT or Tomatoe firmware on a supported Firewall/Router are clueless that they are restricted to less then their provider's advertised bandwidth.

Thank you for literally bringing light to Americans; at least those Americans that are smart enough to work for it; elect officials that care enough for them and their communities to oppose the local and national monopoly/duopoly powers attempting to prevent them from receiving this much needed service.

And jobs will follow to the cities and communities lucky enough to get un-restricted, unlimited service. I have multiple ideas for businesses that will create jobs assuming that the bandwidth is available at an affordable rate in order to make the attempt.

For those that are unaware, currently in Utah, via Utopia and in Salem, N.C. via Greenlight; residential consumers can get 100Mbps/100Mbps bandwidth at FIOS prices ($100 - $150 per month), granted FIOS only allows consumers a throttled/restricted 50Mbps/5Mbps. Not as good as the Japanese and not as good as at least 22 other industrialized countries, but absolutely possible. Will 5 communities receive this service in spite of all the obstacles in the way, absolutely. The only question is will it be yours or mine?

Stop making excuses for what you perceive can not be and start creating the reasons and solutions for getting this much needed service to your community. Your kids will thank you for it!

If only other American corporations would put Americans first the way Google does. Corporations use to, they understood that a strong American, created strong families, which created strong communities, and ultimately made their corporations stronger. Sadly most corporations have lost their way.

Thank you Google, for not being evil and for empowering Americans!

WebHostBusiness said...

Your national broadband proposal will further to bankrupt the USA.

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