Kansas City is about to experience the Internet as it should be. If you’re in the right neighbourhood, you could be enjoying downloads speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second when Google’s pilot project lights up in Kansas and Missouri this September. You might think the Google initiative will force U.S. Internet service providers, which generally deliver downloads speeds a fraction of what the search giant is promising, to finally get their own fibre projects moving. But you’d be wrong.
The cost of bringing fibre to the home is so high that even the largest ISPs can’t afford large-scale deployments. According to the FCC, a typical deployment costs the provider a minimum of $2,500 per subscriber. Google is apparently approaching the project intelligently, and it will probably find a way to cut deployments costs. But there is a limit to what even the Monster of Mountain View can do. “I don’t believe you can turn the economics of fibre on its head,” says Steve Timmerman, senior vice president of ASSIA, which builds management systems for DSL providers.