Is Google Fiber a Telco Game-Changer?

Posted by Oren Cohen

Wed, Dec 26, 2012

field service optimizationArguably, Google can be called the most powerful digital business today. The innovations that Google have implemented have had immense success. Google continues to invest in technologies pushing beyond just being the most popular search engine used on earth.

The telecommunications industry has had its share of volatility including decentralization followed by mergers and acquisitions. From cable companies to internet and mobile service providers the turbulence seems almost normal. Consumers have not benefited much from the telecommunication industry instability, however. Most telcos are perfectly happy with their same infrastructure and same customer service or billing approaches.

Google is an aggressive company and can see opportunities in telco that perhaps those in the telecommunications industry have overlooked. Thus Google Fiber has entered the market, and telcos should take notice.

Google Fiber is currently in a Kansas City area test market and has received rave reviews. The offering includes internet, HD TV service with many popular channels, a terabyte of cloud storage, and the ability to record as many as 8 television shows at once. Not to mention, Google Fiber offers speeds that are 100 times faster than most of the best internet providers in the United States.

There are some real advantages to Google Fiber. But, there are some disadvantages as well. The following is a list of advantages and disadvantages to Google Fiber:

Advantages

    • Competition – in virtually any economy, the more competition that is available means better pricing and services for consumers. A potent competitor such as Google is sure to rock the boat in the telco industry and cause some long standing providers to review their current market philosophies and practices.

    • Technology – Google Fiber provides the Nexus 7 tablet as the remote device to be used for controlling your connections to television and internet, which is a very attractive feature by itself. A high quality wireless router is also provided and you have the option to receive a Google Chromebook for a relatively inexpensive additional cost when compared to other laptops.

    • Price – the cost to implement a Google Fiber connection is less expensive than most cable/internet providers. This highly competitive price tag will cause telcos to take note and quickly – it definitely has the interest of the public.

Disadvantages

    • Rollout – the implementation of Google Fiber is going to be fairly slow. Today it is in a few select cities in Kansas, and as more cities increase their pre-registration counts Google will prioritize its rollout accordingly. However the process is expected to take a lot of time and you may not see Google Fiber in major markets until late 2013 or 2014.

    • Channel selection – not all channels are offered as part of the Google Fiber selection. Stations such as AMC, HBO, ESPN and others are currently not available because of the fees that these channel providers charge to internet/cable providers is too much for Google at this time. Negotiations will inevitably take place as Google Fiber gains momentum.

    • Privacy – if you are concerned about your browsing habits being tracked, Google Fiber may prompt you to hesitate. As with other Google applications your browsing, viewing and search history will be monitored and used to tailor suggestions.

Telecommunications providers should take notice of Google Fiber, and be prepared to adjust their business models appropriately.

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