SAN JOSE, Calif. – Google is getting ready to add a service for small businesses to its residential gigabit fiber offering in Kansas City. The move is one more small step taking the search giant toward being a carrier.
Milo Medin, a former cable Internet entrepreneur and now vice president of access services at Google, gave an update on the offering at a meeting of a local IEEE group here. He was coy about Google’s plans but did repeat what he said in a summary foil (below) that “this is a beginning, and not an end.”
It’s clear Medin loves his work and sees a broader opportunity for Google. Google Fiber got its start when a small team at the company was preparing to provide comment to a U.S. government’s broadband plan in the works.
“Google management said, ‘why whine to the government, if this is important we should do it,’ so a team was formed,” Medin told a group of several dozen engineers.
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Eleven hundred cities responded to an offer that Google would create a gigabit residential test bed.
“It made us wonder if there may be an opportunity here,” said Medin who joined the team in 2010. “We were looking at it as an opportunity to offer a profitable service that could benefit the Web by offering a 100-fold step function in what’s available today,” he said.
That presents strategic riches and challenges. Ultimately, even wireless operators will succeed or fail based on how much fiber they have, but pulling fiber can be costly and complex, he added.
Competitors such as Comcast are highly profitable offering typically well under 100 Mbits/s. But Google has significant fiber linking its data centers, stakes in undersea cables and owns one of the world’s largest content distribution networks that currently powers YouTube, he said.
Every state and local government has its own laws and practices that makes it potentially costly to install fiber. That fact stalled Verizon’s FIOS offering when the carrier found it more profitable to invest in more wireless than wired infrastructure, he said.
Medin at the recent IEEE meeting in Silicon Valley