It is what it is....

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Google Net - All things considered, a cheap means to an end

So they're taking it one step further than I thought and are taking the fiber all the way to the home.

-Makes sense as they'll have zero dependence on any CLEC, RBOC, MSO or local transport layer. They'll own the traffic from the starting point to the end.

-This gives incredible scale and opens tons of opportunity to exploit mindshare to drive more revenue.

-Google building this network is kinda like the equivalent of the inverse of the Comcast purchase of NBC. Instead of NBC paying Comcast fees to carry it's traffic, NBC now has a free ride to the TV sets of Comcast subscribers. Similarly with GNet, Google now has a free ride to GNet users/subscribers/testers and bypasses paying transit and transport fees to telcos, etc.

The big question is how does this fit into their network neutrality stance. Will google let other transit providers (aka ISPs) ride this last mile to the house?

Why should they when they are the ones spending the money to lay the fiber?

My gut tells me that the answer is yes but there will be a cost. That cost could be in the form of monetary compensation from the ISP to google or that cost could be that Google gets visibility into the usage of the ISPs customers. That visibility and the historical data resulting from it is likely far more valuable to Google than the revenue they could generate by selling the last mile to alternative ISPs.

Envisioning this one step further, by connecting their network to all private networks run by telcos, isps, msos, ilecs etc, Google can become the arbitrator/clearing house of peering (traffic exchange) between consumers and traditional network operators. Creating a true, on demand, utility based connectivity model. Like a cloud for network service. Like bringing BGP to the masses by enabling it at the core instead of the edge.

Can they have their cake and eat it too? Time will tell.

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