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Google: Objectives and Undesirable Results

October, 2018

In the past, fibeReality has addressed the matter that Google/Alphabet’s publicly stated objectives in getting into new businesses, including in the optical realm, need to be viewed as part of its overriding goal of getting an increasing number of eyeballs to view advertisements on its search engine, its principal revenue producer. So, we read with amusement the following recent article: “Why Google Fiber Is High-Speed Internet’s Most Successful Failure,” in which it is stated “what if the company’s goal was never to unleash the disrupter itself so much as to encourage incumbent broadband providers to do so....?” Since 2010, this writer has been involved in maintaining that there was no doubt that was the sole aim of the company. While the piece also does not get the motivation behind Verizon’s FiOS correct, it also ignores the negative impact of Google pretending to be “a competitive ISP” on various communities. It also leaves out the irresponsible declaration by one of its prominent engineers that NG-PON2 would be supposedly impossible to pull off, only to kind of take it back a year later. Of course, there is also Google’s role in the destruction of the high-end optics ecosystem (although in fairness, of the big four hyperscale data center operators, it seems to be most aware of the negative consequences).  Even more importantly, while we have been sympathetic toward Google concerning the unjustified penalties by government entities, such as the EU, the search engine giant’s political leanings have done the most amount of damage, despite claiming it offers a neutral platform.

While certainly Google had a positive impact on getting other players to build out a greater number of broadband networks, there are lots of residents in various cities that have been literally waiting very long periods of time to get fiber from the company, even after placing presumed orders for the service. How many of them paid a premium to buy properties with the understanding that Google Fiber was just around the corner? In three of these areas, the promise of “help[ing to] put [them] on par with the fastest cities in the world, like Seoul, Tokyo and Zurich" has fallen way short of the mark.

Then Google apparently went out of its way to keep certain local government officials with the most knowledge of the existing networking situation, such as rights-of-way, in the dark about its plans. For instance, in Atlanta, one of these individuals never got the chance to get involved because of strategic NDAs, which were put in place.  

For sure, Google should get credit for insisting on maneuverings by municipalities, HOAs, etc. (albeit, sometimes they felt compelled to take on a disproportionate amount of the expense), which has led to favorable changes for FTTH deployment by other service providers, including the “one-touch, make-ready policy” by the FCC. Yet, to this day, it is still able to usually get away with being given the benefit of the doubt of its future intentions concerning external investments, despite frequently, a relatively, limited cost to itself, while still often coming out as the biggest winner.

Now Google has the temerity to push for a super-PON concept. Of course, the only rational assumption should be that it would be insincere in even implying that adoption of such a system could lead to it engaging in further deployment of fiber in the access portion of the network. It remains simply incredible that Google, which as always with everything, does meticulous budget examinations, did not know the types of obstacles in the way in advance of these installations.

Then there is the extremely vital issue involving censorship. At first, fibeReality agreed with commentators that given that all of these social media companies are private entities, they have the right to keep on or off any speech they so desire, even if the practice was inherently unfair. We thought that people with opposing views should start their own platforms.

Later, we saw the intrinsic unfairness of this point of view. Google is acting like a publisher in blatantly censoring content, which comes from sources in opposition to its views, and abuses this privilege to the point of going beyond its own criteria it lays out for such a prohibition. Thus, it is totally unjust for it to have the privilege of no liability when it comes to expression on its platform.

As always, fibeReality does not recommend any securities, and this writer does not invest in any companies being analyzed by us.

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[written by Mark Lutkowitz]

 

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  • brian kinn  
    November 02, 2018 at 00:11 AM Reply
    fibeReality - cutting through the "hype" and "tactics" ...."Like a backhoe through a fiber conduit" :-)