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Google Talks About Owning Your Internet Connection

Derek Slater, Google's policy analyst, is asking "What if you could own your own Internet connection?" In other words, proposing a very different model where residentials, businesses, or other institutions would pay for the installation and maintenance of their own "last mile" link to the Internet, thus improving broadband reliability and choice.

Although the idea may seem far fetched, Slater points out that in Ottawa, Canada, a trial experiment is already underway trying out the consumer-owned model for a downtown neighborhood of about 400 homes.

In his presentation, Bill St. Arnaud, Chief Research Officer at CANARIE spearheading the Ottawa trial says: "If broadband services like telephony and broadcast TV are going to be free, the challenge then is to find a way to build out and pay for the infrastructure. This is why we believe user owned and controlled optical last mile networks are important — you don't want to be in the business of maintaining SLAs [Service Level Agreements] for services that are free or have high opex costs. The traditional telco approach for justifying FTTH [Fiber to the Home] is to deliver "premium" services, or services delivered through a QoS channel to extract additional revenue (and thereby create non-neutral networks). But if the services are free it is going to be hard to extract that revenue to justify the cost of the network build out."

Quoting Slater from his post today: "...we tend to think about broadband deployment in carrier-centric ways. If we want to see super-fast fiber connections rolled out to consumers, the main question appears to be whether carriers have appropriate incentives to invest. But there's no law of nature that says this is the only possible model. Many businesses, governments, universities, and other entities already own their own fiber connections, rather than leasing access to lines. It may also be possible to find ways for consumers to purchase their own last-mile strands of fiber."

Read full story: Google Inc.

Related topics: Access Providers, Broadband, Net Neutrality, Telecom


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Are they serious? Larry Seltzer  –  Jul 23, 2008 6:21 PM PDT

This sounds like a terrible idea to me. It's going to be a major investment for an individual user and for what? You still have to buy services from one or more companies. There still may be CPE issues.

If I can get 12mbps J Iannone  –  Jul 24, 2008 12:41 PM PDT

If I can get 12mbps burstable for $60/mo with similar SLA as I have today, I'm all for it.  Otherwise, no.  Maybe Google will innovate an ad subsidized last mile access product.

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