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Nationwide Google Fiber Deployment Would Cost $140 Billion 327

An anonymous reader writes "For a lot of U.S. internet users, Google Fiber sounds too good to be true — 1Gbps speeds for prices similar to much slower plans from current providers. Google is testing the service now in Kansas City, but what would it take for them to roll it out to the rest of the country? Well, according to a new report from Goldman Sachs, the price tag would be over $140 billion. Not even Google has that kind of cash laying around. From the report: '... if Google devoted 25% of its $4.5bn annual capex to this project, it could equip 830K homes per year, or 0.7% of US households. As such, even a 50mn household build out, which would represent less than half of all U.S. homes, could cost as much as $70bn. We note that Jason Armstrong estimates Verizon has spent roughly $15bn to date building out its FiOS fiber network covering an area of approximately 17mn homes.' Meanwhile, ISPs like Time Warner aren't sure the demand exists for 1Gbps internet, so it's unlikely they'll leap to invest in their own build-out."
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Nationwide Google Fiber Deployment Would Cost $140 Billion

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  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Saturday December 08, 2012 @03:41PM (#42227041) Journal

    I guess it's time for all of us to tell our power utility that fiber is essential infrastructure. They need to standardize on the Google Method and wire our streets so that they're ready when Google comes here. Otherwise this is going to take too long.

    First communities to make it a downhill run for Google win the digital economy.

    Almost the whole world wants Google fiber.

    And if they won't do it - maybe they'll show us how we can do it for ourselves.

  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @03:45PM (#42227087)

    In a country of 300M people, $140B is only $50 per person. Comparing the price to Google's market cap is silly. For a big infrastructure project like this they would, of course, seek new capital to cover the cost. This is affordable.

  • by Red_Chaos1 ( 95148 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @03:54PM (#42227173)

    ..."Meanwhile, ISPs like Time Warner aren't sure the demand exists for 1Gbps internet,"

    At current costs? Of course not. People would *love* to have more speed. But not if it's going to cost $100+ a month to get it like TWC/Cox/Comcast/etc. would charge for it. They create their own stagnation with greed.

  • Re:Days of War (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Saturday December 08, 2012 @03:57PM (#42227199) Homepage Journal

    Going by $720M / day, that's less than 200 days of the war in Iraq.

    Yes, but the Iraq war benefits the bankers, globalists, and components of the military-industrial-media complex. Nationwide gigabit fiber would chiefly benefit the citizenry and small businesses. So, the Legislators simply can't vote for such a thing!

  • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @03:58PM (#42227209)

    the only way google did it in kansas city was by paying off local officials to allow them to put their fiber on the poles at lower rates than everyone else's lines. not going to work everywhere. ISP's and others are already suing kansas city for allowing this

    Giving local officials some sort of deal seems to be a well established practice that has worked in many locales. See the cell phone industry. A cellular tower is opposed until the provider offers to put equipment to support local police and fire communications up there. I suspect that the initial opposition is just a gambit to get such freebies in some locales. I'd be surprised if such practices have not already been ruled on by the courts.

  • by periol ( 767926 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @04:00PM (#42227227) Homepage
    So we can bailout Wall St. and the banks to the tune of hundreds of billions, but we can't afford to invest in infrastructure. Good to know.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 08, 2012 @04:03PM (#42227275)

    It costs 110 dollars / month now for 5Mb download 839k upload on time warner. It would cost $1000+ per month at their current pricing scam er scheme.

  • by portwojc ( 201398 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @04:08PM (#42227335) Homepage

    "ISPs like Time Warner aren't sure the demand exists for 1Gbps internet, so it's unlikely they'll leap to invest in their own build-out."

    The (the big players) will however leap to the effort to squelch it. If Google wants to make this happen which would change the landscape they are going to just have to do it and drag everyone kicking and screaming. As well as give their lawyers something to do.

  • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @04:18PM (#42227417) Homepage

    For myself, I'd be happy with a solid 20 megabit connection. What I really want is:

    • 20 megabits upstream as well as downstream, so things like VoIP don't choke on multiple users and I can upload files to an external server without causing congestion.
    • A connection that stays 20 megabits instead of getting choked down to a fraction of that when a bunch of neighbors start using their connections heavily.

    Which means gigabit or better to the local distribution point, and neighborhood infrastructure that can handle the aggregate bandwidth. Most of the problems I have aren't my individual connection's bandwidth, it's the shared local infrastructure between my home's connection point and the ISP that's insufficient for the bandwidth of all the connected subscribers. Fix that and give me symmetric bandwidth and I'll be a happy camper.

  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Saturday December 08, 2012 @04:23PM (#42227461) Journal

    Incumbent internet providers are still trying to sell us the notion that bandwidth is a precious resource that has to be metered and capped per user, or the greedy few will saturate their networks depriving the rest of us of our Netflix. Google's gigabit fiber is not filtered, metered or capped in any way.

    This "precious bandwidth" story is either true or it's a lie. It's better for them if it's a lie.

    If it's a lie: they can open up the pipes to the max and let everybody use what they will. This will help a little to fend off the Google invasion.

    If it's true: they're hosed because Google will install more end-user bandwidth in Kansas City in the next six months than they have in their entire nationwide networks combined.

  • by cdrguru ( 88047 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @04:33PM (#42227531) Homepage

    Americans keep getting slapped in the face with proof after proof that their government cannot be trusted with simple things, like taking out the garbage. Why would be be foolish enough to trust the government with (a) something worth lots of money - that could be stolen or corrupted and (b) something really complicated?

    Most likely, a government "Internet for the people" project would be decided that it simultaneously could not present information about gay sex activities and be required to present information about gay sex activities. Obviously when something is both mandatory and prohibited this schizophrenia will seep into everything. If you could get a road map, it would have to be in the public domain from 1925 or earlier. If it were possible to display information about religious events, it would do so only for an obscure sect of aboriginal head hunters that worship the two dollar bills they found in 1880 - only this would pass the censorship filters. Of course it would have to be both government funded and ad supported with an annual lottery to determine what company was to receive the hundreds of billions in ad revenue. Of course when the only winner every year was found to be owned by the Speaker of the House or the Senate Majority Leader hearings would be held and the same company selected the following year.

    Trust us, no American with any sense wants the government involved in delivery of Internet services in any way, shape or form.

  • by Kral_Blbec ( 1201285 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @04:36PM (#42227573)
    No, no, no. It's more like $5000 for me, and my unemployed neighbor gets a $500 check.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 08, 2012 @04:55PM (#42227709)

    Much like the roads, which are say $3500 for you, and a massive check for large freight carriers.

  • by mellon ( 7048 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @05:20PM (#42227911) Homepage

    Then why have the telcos and cable companies spent so much money preventing it from happening? To get it outlawed in every major market? If it's impossible for government to do it, then surely all of that lobbying and all those laws were an unnecessary waste of time.

    No, in reality, it's better to lay fiber once to every house and then sell transit on the fiber to ISPs. That's something that a city government can do quite effectively. The reason it hasn't been done is that it would create competition, and ISPs don't want competition. They want to own the market. In my town it's Comcast or nothing. Nothing personal against Comcast, but I'm paying a lot for fairly crappy connectivity. If I had a choice, I'd take it.

  • by rabtech ( 223758 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @05:23PM (#42227939) Homepage

    The telcos are slowly strangling the internet... from bandwidth caps, to non-compete agreements with the cable companies, from AUPs that prohibit servers, blocked ports/protocols, to a complete refusal to roll out fiber even in dense urban areas.

    Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix, etc should each pony up some cash and begin a nationwide deployment right now. Not with an eye toward making a huge profit, but to ensure they continue to have access to their customers without toll-booths being setup inbetween because you can rest-assured that is exactly where the Telco/CableCo dualopoly is moving us.

    This is a matter of long-term survival and they need to act now.

    Same reason they should be buying their own media companies, before Big Content buys enough of Congress to make YouTube illegal and slaps a 100% tax on all flash memory.

    The RIAA, MPAA, Telcos, and CableCos aren't necessary. It's time to eliminate them but the window on that is closing - soon they'll have too much influence to be assailable and we'll be in the Gilded Age 2.0, stuck for years until a massive depression finally loosens their grip on power.

  • by elashish14 ( 1302231 ) <profcalc4@[ ] ['gma' in gap]> on Saturday December 08, 2012 @09:09PM (#42229589)

    And you probably wouldn't bitch about it if you had to trade positions with him or her, so I would shut up and be happy I have something worth paying taxes on.

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban