Saturday, March 13, 2010

If I were Google, what would I be thinking right now??

We all know Google is brilliant. They have cities renaming themselves, mayors jumping into freezing cold water, and yes (guilty as charged) - you can find me this weekend on Google Island, Sarasota Florida with a Google Daquiri in my hand....

Their aggressive announcement that they will be putting ultra-broadband in a few cities has created quite a stir in the telecom industry. What does this mean? Are they going to compete with existing providers? Work with them? Are they crazy? Nope. They are brilliant.

In a few days, the Federal Government and FCC will lay out their National Broadband Strategy. And guess what - its not good for the telecoms. It is putting pressure on them to build bigger and better networks, and its also pushing them to play nice in the sandbox. Is this a good thing? I am not sure anyone (except lobbyists) can say whether its good or bad.... but it is good for Google.

There is a shift happening - and I think Google sees it (or perhaps they are driving it). The Internet is currently a very closed network. It is owned and operated by a few players that have spent the money to build our the fiber, and bring us broadband.  But the writing is on the wall, to start looking at "opening" it up a bit. Perhaps its because we are ranked 27th in the world in broadband? Or it could be that some people feel the existing providers have just gotten lazy, and are not keeping up with Jones's.

And maybe Google isn't the only brilliant company out there. Maybe Verizon sees a window of opportunity. (marriage made in heaven). Verizon is deploying FIOS (fiber to the home)... and Comcast although they were first to market, they don't have fiber to the home (its Coax). Verizon is having a tough time penetrating a lot of the market, because they were late to market with FiOS. But now... imagine a lunch with the two CEO's of Google and Verizon... and as they order their chicken salad, Lowell (Verizon CEO) leans over and asks Eric (Google CEO) and says "Hey - want to be in the Telecom business?"

So what does this all mean???  Let's review:

1. FCC is pushing for telco's to open their networks
2. Google is looking to boost fiber to the home.
3. Verizon has fiber to the home, but needs capital/help gaining market share
4. Comcast has marketshare, but not fiber to the home.

This may be a perfect storm..... .

And guess what - Sarasota may be the perfect place to see how everyone plays nice in the sandbox.... and if things get a little tense... we can all go have a Google Daquiri, and sing "Don't worry, be happy"

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