Google Hates Building All Networks

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According to our Clash of Metro 100G Optical Vendors with Shifting Network Paradigm report: “As…the case with several of the…big Web 2.0 data center operators, they were forced to operate their own networks….It is simply not in the core competency range for Google to run a network…. A large service provider, such as Verizon, simply does not have 100-gig everywhere in the US, and even in places in which it has this precious amount of capacity available, it would automatically charge an arm and a leg to a company like Google.” So, if Google detests even operating its own internal network, and after the foreseeable pullback on “Google Fiber” (as well as other previous initiatives, such as in WiFi), why is “Google Access” continuing to get so much attention, including the invitation to a speaker from that department to the OIDA Executive Forum panel on “How Big is the Optical Access Opportunity?”

Followers of our LinkedIn fibeReality blog have been recently given examples of the patently ridiculous expectations involving Google’s future, undoubtedly based on the silly anxieties of some managers at service providers, including the belief that it is “highly likely” that the firm might be interested in buying a company, such as Zayo. Another one involved seriously entertaining the idea of the giant search engine company significantly penetrating the traditional wireless space.

With a relatively limited amount of investment, Google has been quite successful in pushing other companies and government entities to move forward with their own plans. As always, that was the whole idea – have more bandwidth available to sell more ads on the Internet. Its current focus on targeted wireless applications will be similarly limited with the hope that showing the way forward will encourage others to make the bulk of the investment with this technology in the future.

On a side note, this writer had a direct view of an outright race between Google and AT&T to provide fiber-to-the-home infrastructure in a cul de sac in Nashville. They each took different routes. While Google stayed in the municipality’s right-of-way, AT&T purchased an easement through an open space of the Home Owners Association (HOA), and then stuck primarily to the utility easement in the rear of the yards. As one neighbor described it: “Overall, Google’s contractors were more like surgeons using scalpels, and AT&T’s were more like trailblazers using hatchets and machetes.” Another disagreed with this assessment: “[Google Fiber contractors] dug up the street pretty well and tore up my sidewalk….The work that AT&T did in the back yard behind me was with heavy equipment….They cut a major root (about a foot in diameter) of a tree to the point I am concerned it will not survive.

On the block, AT&T was willing to settle much earlier with the HOA on damages to homes. Certainly, the threat of complaining to the PUC would have been an option, otherwise. In contrast, Google dragged its feet, preferring to take a “divide and conquer” approach, stating that it preferred to deal with individuals, which became quite frustrating for the residents. About a dozen times, the HOA approached Google on its punch list involving 30 items going back to last autumn before all of the repairs were finished. The last matter involved a big hole in a driveway. The Department of Public Works was asked to demand that Google fix the problem or else revoke the permit to be in the right-of-way, and the HOA was made completely whole within the next two weeks.

Please also consider our report, Clash of Optical Component Vendors & Technologies in Data Center Networks.

[written by Mark Lutkowitz]