Google pushes fiber

Google announced that it is going to wire a select few communities with gigabit broadband connections. This could be huge.

Something is wrong with broadband access in the US. It was ranked 15th in the world in 2008 on a composite score of household penetration, speed and price.

Google is setting out to demonstrate a better way, though other countries already offer such demonstrations. The current international benchmark for price and speed is Stockholm at $11 per month for 100 mbps. There are similar efforts in the US, for example Utopia in Utah. One of the key features of these implementations of fiber as a utility is that the supplier of the fiber does not supply content, since this would impose a structural conflict of interest.

Google does supply content, so it will be interesting to see how it deals with this conflict. I doubt there will be any problems in the short term, but in the long term it will be very hard to resist the impulse to use all the competitive tools available; “Don’t be evil” isn’t a useful guideline to a long, gentle slope.

OK, it’s easy to be cynical, but at least Google is trying to do something to improve the broadband environment in the US, and it may be a long time before the short term allure of preferred treatment for its own content outweighs the strategic benefit of improved national broadband infrastructure. And this initiative will undoubtedly help to accelerate the deployment of fiber to the home, if only by goading the incumbents.

I touched on the issue of municipal dark fiber a while back.

Samsung GT-S8500 is first with 11n, BT 3.0 certifications

Engadget reports that the Samsung GT-S8500 is the first phone to support Bluetooth 3.0. A look at the Wi-Fi Alliance website reveals that it was also the first feature phone to gain 802.11n certification.

The certificate is dated December 28th 2009, the same date that the first smartphone was certified for 802.11n – the LG Veri/VS750. The VS750 Wi-Fi appears to be more advanced than the Samsung, since it is certified for short guard interval and WMM Power Save.

While these are the first phones to gain Wi-Fi certification for 802.11n, they may not be the first to market.