Thursday, March 18, 2010

Unrequited Notes on Google Broadband

A redacted email I wrote about a week ago.

Ahoy XXXX!

I don't play in a league J

I just read the Google RFI, and they do seem pretty focussed on the town, etc. as the model for their trials. XXXXX  in Governor Quinn's office had a conference call on this last month with the Broadband Deployment task force; I do not know the outcomes. 


The economics of 1G via fiber really tend toward a more urban (or at least moderate density) deployment.  The complexities are not so much in the technology - bury cable for about $40K/mile or hang it for about $15K a mile - but in the negotiation and management of rights of way. 

Hence, my take is that the complexity of trying to do a state-wide deployment might push it to the bottom of the pile for Google.Getting agreement from a town's more manageable than moving across jurisdictions; legislation is antique and anticompetitive.

What might be interesting would be to understand a deployment model of a 1G wireless infrastructure hubbed from fast fiber  (or reasonably fast wireless as a backbone). Google has been big in open access advocacy (Whitespaces - unregulated bandwidth).

There might be something to go at with a conversation about connected community.  

A fast, low latency implementation could allow, for example, cultural entertainment shared amongst, say, Chicago and some of the old theaters downstate (Varsity in Carbondale, Liberty in Murphysboro) that have become 501c3 community spaces. The entertainment / community really drives the build out of networks beyond the "must do this" segments. Although the vision of high res tele medicine is laudable, the toughest technical requirements are for gaming (by far), audio, and video. "Play Halo and get your MRI data shipped for free."

1G also offers immersive environments / shared spaces of very high video resolution - 3d capable. I have friends in a group called DigItSignal that do weekly performances together from New York, Florida, Sweden, and England over the Internet. Maybe something to encourage the transport of Chicago Blues exchanged for Makanda Bluegrass? I'm thinking art/music/fun will be a differentiator. Everyone else will cite obligatory "medicine, education, yadda yadda" and that's necessary. But Google wants to learn how to, in the old Internet tradition, MAKE MONEY FAST. And that will come from entertainment / social applications.

I think it quite important to stress the emerging vision as one of a *shared* network. I say this because I've seen failure in thinking and implementation of single-purpose networks (which will suffer unsustainably low utlilization, viz, a pure medical network, or unshared infrastructure running to/from schools, etc.).

XXXX'x  point on the regional model - say a river basin - makes very good points. covers experience in the Oregon with additional case studies of a West Virginia project from a few years ago. Similarly, the "beyond the state" issues for regional approaches matter greatly here in Egypt. points out that this part of Illinois is closer to Nashville, TN than Springfield, IL. What might be interesting is rural very high speed "thin" network provided by Google. Even <1M wireless broadband down here (via Alltel) has driven out satellite internet quite quickly; the adoption of broadband by existing dial up users likewise very rapid.

As far as downstate regional broadband efforts, XXXXXXX  would be an appropriate place to "funnel" potential alliances. I just got off the phone with XXXXXXXXXX He's at NPA-NXX-XXXXand would be happy to hear from you. He's also quite fluent in some of the practical argot of getting broadband put in "down here". I know some progress has been made in mapping broadband extant infrastructure; he'll have far more recent insight into that.

Quick Study Planning Resource

Another source  consolidates additional materials in infrastructure "OTI prepared five application guides as well as a primer to funding opportunities and a strategic guidance document regarding BTOP infrastructure funding. "

With apologies for somewhat scattered editing, but I wanted to get this out quickly. I'd be happy to help.


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