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Race to gigabit Internet service takes off

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Race to gigabit Internet service takes off

Postby Astrum » Mon Sep 01, 2014 12:49 pm

With the "irrational exuberance" of the early Internet economy, speculators spent billions laying thousands of miles of fiber optic cable for backhaul, expecting Internet use would continue growing at the unprecedented rates of the late 1990s. As part of the great dot com bust of 2000, however, most of the speculators went bust, leaving so-called "dark fiber" to wait for demand to catch up.

That time, it seems, has finally come.

In its third annual report (PDF), Gig.U, a consortium of nearly 40 research universities, reported in the last week that the number of announced and in-process consumer gigabit Internet service offerings has begun to take off. "Scores of American communities, including over a dozen Gig.U communities, are now deeply engaged in deploying of such networks," the report notes. Progress on deploying 1Gbps broadband service has proceeded with impressive results since 2010, when the Federal Communications Commission's visionary National Broadband Plan called for gigabit test bed communities offering ultra high-speed Internet connections, at least for anchor institutions including "schools, hospitals and government buildings."

Before the ink had even dried on the FCC report, Google announced plans to take up the challenge, launching a competition to select one community for a fiber-to-the-home service that it called Google Fiber. That competition was won by Kansas City, where Google Fiber is now in operation. (Google Fiber has since expanded to Austin and to Provo, Utah, where it took over a failing municipal fiber service.)

Soon after publication, the plan's chief author, Blair Levin, left the FCC to launch Gig.U. Levin, who had previously served as chief of staff for former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt, was convinced that the solution to stubborn broadband access, adoption, and competition problems all lay in promoting what he and Hundt called a "Politics of Abundance."

"History shows that nations always benefit economically from network upgrades," Levin said in an interview with CNET. "But in 2009, investors weren't eager to invest in the next generation. We wanted to find a way to change that."

Gig.U's solution was to organize research universities and their communities, and to create common proposal documents with which to attract gigabit Internet providers. Residents and businesses in university towns, Levin reasoned, were the most likely markets to subscribe to Internet speeds as much as 100 times faster than existing networks offered, making it easier to sell the idea to the private investors who would need to pay for the construction of new fiber-based infrastructure.

Between Google Fiber and Gig.U's highly-visible experiments, according to Levin, a competitive "Game of Gigs" among both communities and broadband providers is now in full swing.

In the last twelve months, the opening move has shifted from communities looking for willing providers to forward-thinking companies, including AT&T, Google, and CenturyLink, taking the initiative in reaching out to cities.
That shift is in part a response to competitors old and new getting serious about the gigabit game. With the continued growth of Internet-based video services and the imminent arrival of 4K or "ultra High Definition" programming, advanced tele-health applications, and other high-bandwidth services, providers can more easily make the business case to Wall Street for the substantial investments required.

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Re: Race to gigabit Internet service takes off

Postby waktem » Wed Sep 03, 2014 4:20 pm

This is a good race to have a internet service in terms of gigabytes as it is requirement of the today's generation and business needs as we are growing the needs of communication is increasing with a faster speed.
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