Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Experimenting with new ways to make broadband better, faster, and more available

Given how important broadband capability is to economic growth and job creation, it's no surprise that it's become a major topic of discussion in Washington.

The FCC is currently finalizing its National Broadband Plan to present to Congress next month. Recently we suggested that as part of its Plan, the Commission should build ultra high-speed broadband networks as testbeds in several communities across the country, to help learn how to bring faster and better broadband access to more people. We thought it was important to back up our policy recommendation with concrete action, so now we've decided to build an experimental network of our own.

Today we announced plans to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks, delivering Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what's available today to most Americans, over 1 gigabit per second fiber connections. As a first step, we're asking interested local governments to complete a request for information, which will help us determine where to build. Our goal is to experiment with new ways to help make broadband Internet access better, faster, and more widely available.

We're excited to see how consumers, small businesses, anchor institutions, and local governments will take advantage of ultra high-speed access to the Net. In the same way that the transition from dial-up to broadband made possible the emergence of online VoIP and video and countless other applications, we think that ultra high-speed bandwidth will lead to many new innovations – including streaming high-definition video content, remote data storage, distance learning, real-time multimedia collaboration, and others that we simply can't imagine yet.

This project will build on our ongoing efforts to expand and improve Internet access for consumers – from our free municipal Wi-Fi network in Mountain View, CA, to our advocacy in the 700 MHz spectrum auction, to our work to open the TV "white spaces" to unlicensed uses.

In building our broadband testbed, we plan to incorporate the policies we've been advocating for in areas like network neutrality and privacy protection. Even on a small scale, building an experimental network will also raise other important legal and policy issues, from local environmental law to rights-of-way, so we'll be working closely with communities, public officials, and other stakeholders to make sure we get this right.

By several measures, no matter who you ask, the U.S. in far too many places still lags behind many countries in Europe and Asia in terms of broadband speed, availability, and uptake. While it's unlikely that our experiment will be the silver bullet that delivers ultra high-speed Internet access to the rest of America, our engineers hope to learn some important things from this project. We can't wait to see what developers and consumers alike can accomplish with access to 1 gigabit broadband speeds.


tms495 said...

All Americans need speedy access to the internet with out having to pay a higher price for service received by every one else.

MichiganMARKER said...

This is the best thing to happen to the internet since GOOGLE and it just so happens that they are the ones leading the way forward. The telecom industry and the government better watch and learn from these guys or get ready to pay for their services.

Fred Goodwin said...

I’m glad to see this — competition is good.

The roadblock (literally and figuratively) will be right-of-way issues, and plowing up streets to lay more fiber, or access to available ductspace.

The flipside of carriers complaining about costs is public outcry over the exorbitantly high profits carriers are allegedly making. To those folks I ask: if there’s so much money in it, why isn’t everybody doing it?

I guess we’ll soon have our answer, and for everyone’s sake, I hope Google can make this work.

Brian said...

Hey how about helping out the small communities that cannot get broad band services. I live in a small town in Northern Wisconsin and even though there is a POP just down the street from us we are still stuck using T1 and even lower speed 3G networks. You really want to make a difference help out the people the telecoms will not. We have the opportunity to get fiber to our community but NO ONE bank or tel-com is willing to invest in the infrastructure!

健康保寶 said...


Stephen Collins said...

Come do this in Australia! We have a government proposing to spend AU$43Bn on a FTTN network that will deliver, at best, 100Mbps and in reality something closer to high-end ADSL2+ speeds.

It's this sort of audacity that we need in Australia, and many would welcome it!

swampie said...

Does the Cloud need that much throughput ? or is that the people downloading illegal content even faster for their own gain ? I suppose in consideration, the available bandwidth is not throughput. If we have broadband that fast, then we will all need new high end home computers and the development to replace tcp or at least patch is 30year old flaws. I guess Jumbo frames really could be useful.

There are people starving in this world and even then HD Video streams and voice media operate with connections of < 2Mbps