Friday, January 2, 2015

Proposed FCC plan creates opportunities for Google Fiber

Within the Federal Communications Commission's proposed regulatory changes (paywall) detailed within their recent broadband plan was the plan to treat internet providers as telecommunications under Title II. Although this would bring ISPs under stricter regulations, those that usually affect utilities, some see a bright side, especially in the case of Google Fiber (paywall).

Google Fiber is a Google's effort to offer internet through a physically wired service program. Between their $30-$300 initial cost 10 years of free internet at 5mb/s and their offering of 1Gbit(125mb/s) for $70, they've scared the established ISPs offering much weaker plans. The cost of laying wire, however, is relatively high and as such, they've only brought their service to a few key areas.

In a market where the largest internet service providers are also the largest telecommunications companies, it's no coincidence that outside companies are hard pressed to gain access to established infrastructure. Google Fiber has had to fight an uphill battle for alternatives to something as expensive as laying wiring in the ground, however, under the proposed shift to Title II, Google Fiber stands to gain access to utility poles as well as other essential utility infrastructure. This sudden opening of opportunities would allow them to cut costs significantly as they gain the ability to create greater competition and consumer choice in more areas.

Should ISPs be put under greater regulation?
Should they be labeled as "utilities"?
Should Google Fiber gain access to the infrastructure built by other companies?
Would you like for Google Fiber to come to your area?


Wesley Lee said...

I believe that ISPs should be put under greater regulation. The amount that the large ISPs (Comcast and AT&T) are charging for internet service is ridiculous. And they do so because of the very reason Ben stated. There is simply the lack of viable competition. As internet service becomes less of a luxury and more of an everyday necessity, ISPs should fall under "utilities." Internet access has becomes just as if not more essential to everyday life as other forms of telecommunications. Google Fiber should gain access to infrastructure built by other companies as this will not only increase competition and thus, lowering prices for what should be a relatively inexpensive service, but it will also provide a push towards innovation and better service for the customers long term. I would like Google Fiber to come to my area. Although the initial costs of setup are expensive, the long term benefits 10 years of free high-speed internet far outweigh these initial costs.

anish amirapu said...

I agree with Wesley in that ISPs need to be put under more regulation since they do not have competition. In addition to that in certain areas where there is very little access or there are no other viable options so they can offer the bare minimum of services and have a huge fee. I think definitely they need to be made into utility since it has become that integrated. By adding Google into the mix it would force many companies to up their game since they have such a huge power house to deal with now. Yes I'd like to have Google since our provider can be unreliable at times.

Brian Yee said...

I'd definitely like to see Google Fiber expand, especially since this is a new program. With greater regulation, ISPs would see more competition and people would see cheaper prices. In addition, with the reputation that Google has built for reliability and efficiency I believe it can be a strong competitor among these internet service providers. I agree with Wesley about how the long term benefits would outweigh the initial costs. Often, new services cost more at first but eventually stabilize as more competitors come into play. The fact that AT&T is trying to prevent Google Fiber from being a very competitive provider is pretty understandable. AT&T has built a pretty big infrastructure for itself and for Google to just step in now should prompt the idea that they should play by the same rules, or regulations.

Ben Maison said...

@Anish Are you calling ISPs monopolies? Surely there's some consumer choice already available in the market. Google already is playing by the same rules, it's just that now they'll have access to the infrastructure controlled by other companies. This can be seen, in a way, as some form of forced strong arming backed by the government, but it can also be seen in the more positive, opening up markets light as well.