Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Google Fiber, in defense of the open internet

Since Google Fiber was launched in Kansas City the service has gotten a lot of attention for its speed, ease of use and social approach to coordinating the roll-out. While I am sure that Google intend to make money on the service, I think the most important reason for Google to do this is separate from potential revenue on the actual service.

I believe that Google Fiber is a warning shot across the bow of the entrenched forces such as cable companies, wireless carriers, the entertainment industry and others that have for varying reasons worked in unison to roll back the openness of the Internet.

Companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter and even Apple can only flourish in an environment where the users have unencumbered access to the internet.

Cable companies and wireless carriers have for years tried to stem their customers flight to superior and more innovative OTT services by effectively blocking internet access through bandwidth caps and selective measures in order to be able to put a toll on the internet. The cable companies and carriers are essentially forcing customers to pay for access to services that the carriers had no part in developing or rolling out.

The entertainment industry has been cheering on the cable and wireless companies even though they in the past have had a less than rock solid relationship. Their current alignment of interest in blocking unlimited internet access comes from an understanding within the entertainment industry that the Internet is a bigger threat to their "delivery system for discs" than cable companies and wireless carriers are.

The two industries are unified in their interest to protect past technologies (DVDs, CDs, Broadcast TV and circuit-switched mobile telephony) instead of profiting on being at the forefront of introducing the new services that has already replaced them at an ever increasing pace.

Just as the Nexus smartphones and tablets are Googles way of raising the bar, so is Google Fiber.

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