Google announced plans in 2010 to bring super-high-speed Internet access to select communities in the United States and in 2011 picked Kansas City to start. Google has said it hopes to spur innovation among cable companies and Internet service providers by demonstrating what’s possible with Internet speeds 100 times faster than the U.S. average. The project could also bring dramatic changes for Hollywood, both because of piracy and Google’s possible experiments with new ways to distribute content legally.
Google has already strung more than 100 miles of fiber-optic cable along utility poles in Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., and expects to connect its first homes in the next few months, says Google Fiber spokeswoman Jenna Wandres.
Its test network of about 850 homes in a faculty neighborhood near Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., already provides amazing download speeds of 922 Mbps and upload speeds of 883 Mbps. At those speeds, Web surfers or pirates can download a DVD in under a minute or a high-definition Blu-ray in five. This compares with the U.S. average Internet speed of about 5 Mbps and ranks 26th globally.
“A Google spokeswoman said “we’re standing by hopefully having service in the first half of 2012″ to some neighborhoods in Kansas City, Kan. Google has gained approval in both Missouri and Kansas to sell a cable-like television service.”
In December of last year, The Wall Street Journal reported that Google was in discussions with Walt Disney, Time Warner, and Discovery Communications about offering their content via Google Fiber. In short, by creating its own pipe, Google can play with new ways to allocate bandwidth between Internet and TV services and see what what is adopted by customers.
“Google Fiber will definitely be a disruptive force,” said Mitch Singer, the chief digital strategy officer for Sony Pictures. “The studios know that if we stick our heads in the sand, we will fail, pure and simple.”