Everyone’s been wondering about Google’s long term plans for Google fibre, the ultra-fast broadband and cable TV service it’s currently offering in just a couple of cities.
At a telecom industry event Thursday in Kansas City, Mo., Google’s VP of access services, made it clear that Google fibre isn’t an R&D project.
Rather, it’s a service that Google expect will eventually turn a profit.
“We expect to make money from Google fibre,” Medin said at the event, as reported by Cnet’s Marguerite Reardon. “This is a great business to be in.”
Google fibre, first announced in 2010, is a lot cheaper than other cable and Internet providers. For $120 a month, customers get normal cable TV, a massive digital video recorder, and broadband Internet that’s up to 100 times faster than other providers. If customers just want Internet, they pay $70 a month.
Google currently offers Google fibre in Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas. It’s also planning to roll it out in Austin, Texas and Provo, Utah.
As for when the rest of the country will get the service, that’s anyone’s guess. The big obstacle is that broadband networks are expensive to build. Last December, Goldman Sachs estimated it would cost Google more than $140 billion to offer Google fibre countrywide.
Still, Google has taken a different approach than other service providers. Google is not taking government subsidies or tax breaks, Medin said.
Instead, Google is partnering with city agencies to work around costly aspects of building networks, such as digging up streets and obtaining right-of-ways for deploying network equipment.
For the cable TV service, Google fibre uses set-top box and storage hardware that Google designed itself. Getting the television programming deal done was a difficult and time intensive process, Medin said at the event.
“Looking back this was an insane decision to build a new network and TV platform at the same time,” Medin said, as reported by Cnet. “But Google is known for doing insane things.”