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Eight Years On, Google Fiber Is a Faint Echo of the Disruption Promised (vice.com)
329 points by olds on Mar 5, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 323 comments



As you can surmise by reading this article, the rise of the wireless ISPs (or WISPs) is not because the wireless technology is better or drastically cheaper. It's because in so many places, the incumbents are able to prevent you from building out fiber. They simply haven't developed the weapons to destroy the WISPs yet, but unless the political climate in states/cities changes, they will.

It is tough for WISPs to compete on latency[1]. Not to say there's no value in it or that it couldn't be improved, but right now, aside from the political/regulatory issues, fiber is the best way to build an awesome network for customers.

If you want to work on software at a company that is deploying fiber in multiple cities, we're hiring[2].

[1] https://serverfault.com/questions/286588/intermittent-high-p...

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16493742


Speaking of latency: a well calibrated point to point wireless connection is less latency than fiber jumping a bunch of switches.

Proof: finance industry's wide use of microwave towers.

https://meanderful.blogspot.com/2017/05/lines-radios-and-cab...

There was another set of articles describing microwave towers in Europe, quite fascinating.

Not sure if this was the one: https://sniperinmahwah.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/hft-in-my-ba...


The reason they're faster isn't so much that as they're geographically more direct. The older fiber networks were already pretty optimized for latency at the network level to the point that the last place to make any real gains was physically shortening the connections. That's hard with fiber because you have to get agreements along the whole route to dig and bury the fiber where microwave links only need periodic installations.


Proof: because EM radiation travels at basically the speed of light and take the shortest distance between two points.


Thanks for the links! They're really interesting.

For long paths where you need very low latency, microwave is the way to go. This is why the finance industry uses it.

But this article is about more consumer-level internet access, which is why I mentioned WISPs. A WISP will carry your data wirelessly from your building to a nearby point of presence, where it will then be carried over the normal (fiber-based) internet. For the short distance between your building and the POP, my understanding is fiber will provide much more consistent bandwidth and latency.


Doesn't weather adversely affect these, though?


What of it? If you have an advantage half the time that's better than not having it, as long as benefits exceed costs.


That assumes that the marginal utility of more bandwidth doesn't decrease; personally I'd rather have 10Mb all the time, than an average of 10Mb that is sometimes 1Gb and sometimes 0.1Mb.

If you can't stream Netflix when it's raining heavily outside, that's a big problem.


Man, the definition of big problems has really changed over the years.


I don't think that's the right way to look at the problem. Financial concerns use these microwave networks for additional speed; if it's not available all the time, their competitive edge is limited, but their trades still go through, just not a few milliseconds in advance of their competitors.

At least, one hopes that their trading strategy is based on a combination of financial fundamentals and a technological speed boost; if the speed boost is the only thing they've got going for them then that doesn't speak very well of their business.


My comment was referring to the broader conversation about WISPs vs. fiber for consumer broadband.

I agree that in the financial use-case, the trade-offs are different, and perhaps you can just turn off your wireless link and just fall back to normal fiber when it's raining.

To address your last point, under my limited understanding of high-frequency trading, the edge is in predicting small fluctuations in price, and acting first. For that kind of trading if you incur unpredictable latency, you'd expect to lose money on more trades, since your orders come in after the latency arbitrage has been removed.

You still need to be able to (somewhat) accurately predict those price movements, but that prediction is meaningless if you can't also execute quickly. So the speed boost is a necessary but not sufficient criteria for executing many HFT strategies.


> If you can't stream Netflix when it's raining heavily outside, that's a big problem.

It's the same problem satellite TV customers have dealt with for years.


I think that's a benefit to the finance industry, certainly, but believe the OP may have been thinking about using microwaves for normal non-tech-saavy consumer, in which case inclement weather might be aggravating for them.



I think it's really exciting and a great way to provide internet access to areas of the world that don't have infrastructure for cables.

If they can get the latency they're talking about (that Wikipedia page says 7ms, which I assume is round-trip to the satellite), that would be pretty good. If you're on fiber, you should have sub-millisecond latency to the point of presence. Then the question becomes: which is the shorter path, the satellite-to-satellite path or the transit/dark fiber your fiber ISP is using?

I'm not sure how the math works out, but I'd assume for shorter paths (say, your closest AWS region) fiber is going to come out on top, whereas for trans-continental traffic the satellites could be really competitive.

For example, I am getting 6ms total round-trip-time from NYC to AWS in Virginia.


They simply haven't developed the weapons to destroy the WISPs yet, but unless the political climate in states/cities changes, they will.

Basically, authoritarianism rears its ugly head in the US once again, across corporate, national, state, and local levels. The same general kind of gaming of the system which resulted in interstates dividing white from non-white neighborhoods is now maintaining the media status quo. On one side, it's the corporatism and Crony Capitalism the left traditionally complains about, now wielded by the Far Left as a non-governmental form of censorship. On the other side, it's legal and regulatory blocking of progress to maintain the status quo for old media and to use as leverage against the tech giants.

This is potentially deadly for US society. Until we once again have a healthy 5th estate which can reach the whole of society, the Fox-Newsification and the Gawker-ization of our news media is basically destroying what little actual discourse we have left.


"...now wielded by the Far Left..."

What is my tribe accused of this time?

My peeps are trying to expand broadband, so I guess none of us got the memo.


What is my tribe accused of this time?

Kicking out groups that don't hew to the party-line on YouTube. Not only the genuinely far-right, but also moderates, mainstream Republicans, and various sub-cultural enthusiasts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTI4Bm5OxkU

My peeps are trying to expand broadband, so I guess none of us got the memo.

As I referenced above, old-media interests and local interests oppose the expansion of broadband (as well as broadly defined Net Neutrality) in order to preserve an old-media status quo. Google Fiber, had it been successful, would have been a competitive force against this, destroying the barriers which keep Cable and old-media from being completely washed away. If "your peeps" had succeeded, I suspect "Adpocalypse" wouldn't have happened. YouTube and the like would have done something about ISIS videos, stopped around there, then told the mainstream corporate ad-money to just deal with the rest or go screw. As it is, the status-quo corporate money is being used as leverage against new media through YouTube.


Sorry, I’m losing the narrative:

Was the Far Left for or against Google Fiber?

More residential broadband (last mile) competition would have saved online advertising?


Was the Far Left for or against Google Fiber?

For. However they are against actual Free Speech unmolested by censorship from corporate giants, and they would not have such power on their side, had Google Fiber succeeded.

More residential broadband (last mile) competition would have saved online advertising?

It would have let Tech kill off old media, or at least kill it off sooner, which would have changed the market power of old media's ad money.


Could you tl;dr the video please?

> as well as broadly defined Net Neutrality

I don't really see how enforcing the decoupling of ISPs from other sectors hurts competition in the ISP space, but I'm interested in what am I missing, so if you could write out the argument in detail, that'd be great, thanks!

> As it is, the status-quo corporate money is being used as leverage against new media through YouTube.

Could you help with understanding this, maybe by providing some examples?



Could you tl;dr the video please?

Authoritarians are now (disingenuously) using Libertarian arguments to justify corporatist non-state censorship.

I don't really see how enforcing the decoupling of ISPs from other sectors hurts competition in the ISP space

Does such a decoupling (in truth and in actual effect) necessarily follow from the former Net Neutrality regime under Obama, or from the elimination of that under Trump? I don't think such a decoupling in truth and in actual effect really follows from either.

Could you help with understanding this, maybe by providing some examples?

Watch the video. Part and parcel of the thing which "Adpocalypse" is a part of, is a push from the Far-Left to re-label just about every political view to the right of Bernie Sanders to mainstream Republicans.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0IYzF-zLMw

Also, Tim Pool, who became famous for covering Occupy, covers this general process in depth:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6Wlt1TsS-g

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiXvBuYc1cI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGEwZVplBt8


It's always amusing to observe the kind of rhetorical gymnastics folks will try to employ to blame "the left" for the excesses of unregulated capitalism that the right tirelessly champions.


If you follow the numbers of who is regularly accepting money from Comcast - both Democrats and Republicans are happy to take their money.

"Politico reports that 15 of the 18 members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will hold a hearing on the Comcast deal on March 26th, have taken some form of contribution from Comcast." [1] https://www.theverge.com/2014/3/10/5491908/comcast-buys-cong...

"...Comcast has canvassed the two congressional panels that chiefly regulate cable, broadband and other telecom issues, donating to practically every lawmaker there — including Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.)." [2] https://www.politico.com/story/2014/03/comcast-cash-spread-w...

While Republicans have passed some egregious regulations of late, if you believe that money buys influence and favors - it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that representatives from both parties are responsible for the incredible lack of competition in broadband.


Of course they are, neither party is left of center on the political spectrum.


Of course they are, neither party is left of center on the political spectrum.

This is a prime example of the re-labeling of everything to the right of Bernie Sanders.


It certainly is nothing of the kind. You dragged that Sanders-shaped strawman in with you. Since you appear to harbor the common delusion that mainstream Democrats are, in fact, on the left side of the political spectrum here's some light reading. You'll note that the overwhelming majority of the entire range of opinions detailed here bear little to no resemblance to the standard Democratic party platform: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-wing_politics


Since you appear to harbor the common delusion that mainstream Democrats are, in fact, on the left side of the political spectrum

Here is another example of the re-labeling of everyone to the right of Bernie Sanders! Sorry, but I distinctly remember that the Democrats were the Left and the Republicans were the Right. You seem to be clearly interested in a dramatic shift to the Left. Thanks for being open about it.

(For what you are saying to make sense, you'd have to have Bernie Sanders smack dab in the center. Sorry, but what weird alternative universe do you live in?)


American politics occupies a postage stamp on a continent of political possibility. It is bizarre to argue about left and right when it takes a microscope to differentiate the two. If you don't like "leftward shifts", when did you decide to vote Democrat? When George Wallace was running?


American politics occupies a postage stamp on a continent of political possibility.

Perhaps this is true for "mainstream" politics for most of the past 100 years. I'm not so sure it applies to political activism on campus (i.e. Evergreen), the Alt-Right, Antifa, explicitly White Supremacist fringes, Redneck Revolution, &c.

It is bizarre to argue about left and right when it takes a microscope to differentiate the two.

Agreed, but as I point out above, the small difference between the traditional Democrat and Republican parties isn't the issue in 2018.

If you don't like "leftward shifts", when did you decide to vote Democrat?

As a child of immigrants, I was basically raised to vote Democrat. I showed up for the first primaries for Obama, noting the ham-fisted attempt of the local democratic secretary to get us all to incorrectly fill in the forms to disenfranchise us. I remember distinctly when basically no one would ever use the term "White Supremacist" north of the Mason Dixon line without being considered a conspiracy nutcase. I remember when the dismantling of due process and the wholesale labeling of the rural population as "deplorables" would've been considered stupidity from the mouth of a Democratic candidate. I remember when "safe spaces" on campus would've been immediately rejected as infantile nonsense by Democrats.

I remember when the kind of toxicity, fact-free imputation, and leaning on emotional images in we see in today's politics would have been called out by Democrats as an intellectually dishonest mode of operation. Not to say that politics were free of such nonsense and pollution, but back then, it was widely recognized as nonsense and pollution and not thought of as an intellectually and morally worthy activity.


> excesses of unregulated capitalism

The issue being discussed in this sub-thread is regulatory capture. It is disingenuous to blame that on unregulated capitalism, when in fact it is an issue of excess regulation.


> Basically, authoritarianism rears its ugly head in the US once again, across corporate, national, state, and local levels. The same general kind of gaming of the system which resulted in interstates dividing white from non-white neighborhoods is now maintaining the media status quo. On one side, it's the corporatism and Crony Capitalism the left traditionally complains about, now wielded by the Far Left as a non-governmental form of censorship. On the other side, it's legal and regulatory blocking of progress to maintain the status quo for old media and to use as leverage against the tech giants.

Except this is a GOP agenda or predominantly Red/GOP local governments in the South and Midwest would be resisting it. They are the ones perpetuating it and at the State level they are preempting local ISPs in a variety of ways.

You are just accusing anything involving regulations as "Leftist" without acknowledging it is the standard banners of your own party that enable it.


Except this is a GOP agenda...You are just accusing anything involving regulations as "Leftist" without acknowledging it is the standard banners of your own party that enable it.

I am not a Republican. I've always voted Democrat.

When your expectations are 180-deg out of whack, it's time to re-visit your world view and assumptions.


Are Democrats and Republicans really 180° apart? From where I sit they seem to waver between 9° and 10° apart... sometimes as much as 12° apart? Much less, of course, when there is a ruinous foreign war to pitch.


Where I'm sitting, authoritarians all look alike to me.


Then why have you always voted for one particular flavor of authoritarian?


Because I was still naive. Because I bought into a narrative I no longer buy into. (Note to the reader: Which narrative do you think I buy into right now? Your answer is data on your biases.)


Since you brought up voting in the first place, I'd guess that you're still hooked on the narrative that claims "Voting is important!"

Meaningless gestures don't gain meaning just because we wish it were so.


Since you brought up voting in the first place, I'd guess that you're still hooked on the narrative that claims "Voting is important!"

That's not a good inference. Before I answer, let me ask you: Do you think the election of Trump is at all significant?

Meaningless gestures don't gain meaning just because we wish it were so.

The subject of discussion was my political affiliation, not whether my votes were significant. So your sentence is a bit of a non-sequitur.


Of course not. Trump is Obama II, or perhaps we should say Bush Jr. III. Even the dim hopes some naive souls harbored that somehow he would be less militarist than his predecessors have evaporated by now.

The significance of Trump's election, if any can be said to exist, is that from now on all of our chief executives will be reality TV stars. Is that progress?

You think you're being clever, asking all these questions before making any firm statement. The downvoters seem to have seen through the mask?


The significance of Trump's election, if any can be said to exist, is that from now on all of our chief executives will be reality TV stars.

JFK was the first candidate to embrace Television. Perhaps Trump, being a part of the same lurid show, is the first candidate to realize how hollowed-out the media based on that technology has become.

Is that progress?

It's the classic creative destruction in the media.

You think you're being clever, asking all these questions before making any firm statement.

One of the best ways to judge someone is to see how they make decisions and predictions, and to observe on what information those are based upon.

The downvoters seem to have seen through the mask?

It's not possible to make judgements as above from the downvotes. It seems you should have noted that.


So your argument now is Republicans are "Leftists"?


No. I certainly don't disagree that Republicans also finagle with laws and regulations for their own interests, to the detriment of the public. Perhaps this is the source of your confusion.

The Far-Left is the group which currently has enough power to attempt the silencing of others to the detriment of free speech, and get away with it on a widespread basis. It does so on a daily basis, with the help of corporate power.


And what do you call refusing to run special elections illegally and passing anti-speech laws at the state level exactly?

The GOP does that as well and pretending its only one side is absurd on many levels.


And what do you call refusing to run special elections illegally

Election shenanigans, not Free Speech per se.

and passing anti-speech laws at the state level exactly?

Those should also be fought, no matter who is doing it.

The GOP does that as well and pretending its only one side is absurd on many levels.

The lion's share of the mainstream media is biased to the left, and even at first many in the mainstream media gave a free pass to even to Antifa. It's well known that the GOP has an advantage in local politics. No one is pretending this isn't the case. However, the widespread conceit that the mainstream news is anywhere near unbiased still needs debunking. Badly. As in, society's survival is at stake levels of badly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qmiPWgCYb4


> The lion's share of the mainstream media is biased to the left,

No, it's not. The lions share of media workers may have left-of-center leanings, but media firms aren't coops, so that doesn't actually matter; old media corporations are not owned and run by leftists, or even left-of-center-ists.

The mainstream media may be getting increasingly distant from the Republican Party by standing still (or, at least, moving to the right more slowly), politically, while the Republican Party continues the sprint to the far right that it's been doing since the moment the Democratic Party, led—dragged, really—by Bill Clinton, itself shifted right to form the center-right neoliberal consensus of the early 1990s.

(I call this response an “Overton Slingshot”, because while the tactical move to the right by Dems may have had short term electoral benefits for those left of center in getting slightly less conservative Democrats elected over Republicans—though whether it had any tactical value is itself highly debatable—it definitely was a long term disaster for them in the way it shifted the Overton Window.)


The lions share of media workers may have left-of-center leanings

An analysis of the product indicates a clear bias. The left-leaning biased organizations far outnumber the right-biased ones.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qmiPWgCYb4

since the moment the Democratic Party, led—dragged, really—by Bill Clinton, itself shifted right to form the center-right neoliberal consensus of the early 1990s.

In most western democracies, it's the center which needs to be allied with the administration in order to govern.

The shift isn't to the right. The failed embracing of Identity Politics and Intersectionality by Hillary was the final stage of a massive shift of the Democratic party in the center under Bill Clinton far to the left. Much of that was overseen by Obama.

Throwing out due process and freedom of speech -- individual rights -- is about as radical-left as you can get. In years past, such specific shifts would have been widely recognized as basically going as far left as Mao. It's basically throwing out the fundamental ideological basis of the United States. Now people are trying to convince people that this is "normal" and wanting such foundational individual rights is "shifting far right." Sorry, but anyone who remembers 10 years ago with a clear head can recognize this as a retcon of US history.


> The lion's share of the mainstream media is biased to the left

When your positions are so extreme the lion share of the population votes against them, its not hard to find boogeymen.


  refusing to run special elections illegally
Examples?


https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/02/26/eric...

> “Governor Scott Walker’s refusal to hold special elections is an affront to representative democracy,” Holder said in a statement. “Forcing citizens to go more than a year without representation in the general Assembly is a plain violation of their rights, and we’re hopeful the court will act quickly to order the governor to hold elections.”


From the article:

"The Legislature will be adjourned for 2018 before these seats could be filled in special elections."

Are you disputing the accuracy of that?

Also, you wrote "illegally"... and nothing in that article indicates illegality.


I wonder, was Google Fibre ever intended to succeed in the traditional sense?

Instead, perhaps it was an attempt by Google to change the industry by 1) scaring the incumbents into improving, and 2) expanding consumers' Overton windows[1] regarding what they could/should expect.

Google presumably wants to ensure its services can be delivered to consumers, so this would seem towards that end. As another commenter notes, Google also has deep pockets. Creating & operating a whole company as a PR 'stunt' doesn't seem beyond the realms of reasonable probability.

PS: I think a similar argument can be made for Tesla. I don't think it is a given that Musk intends for Tesla's success to be an economic one.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window

Edit: made last sentence less strong.


I worked for Fiber for two years. It was both (wanting to succeed as a business and wanting to shift the industry), with a primary focus on succeeding as a business, or at least that was what the internal messaging was.

I won't comment on any possible changes in the last couple years or why they may have happened, except to say that to the best of my knowledge, at no point was the sentiment, "We've shifted the industry enough that we can stop pretending to want to succeed."


Google Fiber hit a lot of roadblocks along the way that slowed things down. You have the lawsuit from AT&T against local government in Louisville[0]. There was also a lot of arguments[1][2] around the country for Google trying to access utility poles to hang their wires.

Incumbents tried their hardest to prevent Google from hanging new wires. Many of the laws in-place today make it difficult for new companies to hang wires, which I believe was a reaction from the telegraph days[3].

[0] https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/11/att-admits-defea...

[1] https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/12/why-att-says-it-...

[2] https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2015/01/cable...

[3] https://io9.gizmodo.com/photos-from-the-days-when-thousands-...


Your analysis is backwards. There aren't special laws that "make it difficult for new companies to hang wires." The issue was not Google hanging its own wires, but Google contractors moving AT&T's wires in order to make space on the poles. Louisville passed special laws to enable one company to relocate another company's property on utility poles. I think those laws are a good idea, but its hard to blame AT&T for not wanting Google contractors to touch its infrastructure.

Also, pointing to a couple of lawsuits ignores the fact that Google got huge concessions everywhere else. It got waivers from build-out requirements (obligations to cover whole cities, instead of "fiberhoods" with sufficient demand), fast-track permitting, free use of municipal land for fiber huts, etc: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/09/how-kansas-city-....

I think Google rightfully gets the benefit of goodwill that say AT&T does not. But it's a real triumph of narrative over facts to suggest that Google Fiber didn't have the red carpet rolled out for it in nearly every Fiber city.

(Incidentally, a team of four guys with heavy equipment have spent the last three hours trenching fiber 50 feet through my tiny yard. That's the second visit, and there will be one more, and that's not counting running the fiber down the main road which required months of permitting and surveying. I strongly suspect that's why Google pulled out of Fiber.)


> but its hard to blame AT&T for not wanting Google contractors to touch its infrastructure

Exactly -- AT&T thinks it's their infrastructure, but it's not. It's ours.


"We" (the government) didn't build it or pay for it. Even back in the AT&T monopoly era it was always private infrastructure.[1] AT&T got certain rights (e.g. easements) but that also came with a lot of strings attached (they had to build in a bunch of rural places they never would've built otherwise). Public ownership of the wires was never part of the bargain.

[1] The same is true for power lines. They're mostly privately owned. The power utilities are subject to various regulations (rate regulation, etc.) but the wires were built with private money and are private property. In contrast, most water/sewer lines are owned by the municipality, and paid for by the public through taxes and hook-up fees for new construction.


> We" (the government) didn't build it or pay for it.

This is not and has not ever been true.

Here [1] is an open auction with ~$2 billion in federal aid attached - "a total of $1.98 billion for 10 years." This was last updated just over a week ago. I would dig further back for other subsidies, but it is not necessary. Through tax breaks and subsidies we (the government, tax payers, etc) have certainly aided infrastructure build out for telecom cos.

[1] https://www.fcc.gov/caf2-auction


The Connect America Fund is funded through a special tax on telcos: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Service_Fund#Connect.... It's likes taxing cell phone companies to provide free phones for low-income people. Yes, some cell phone companies will end up getting "subsidies" but companies like AT&T (or Apple) would be net payors. And whether or not you call that a "subsidy" in rural areas, everywhere outside of rural areas it's the opposite of "subsidized." The taxes that pay for CAF make service in urban areas more expensive, thus decreasing demand and revenue. Municipalities also treat telecom service as a revenue source (a tax of 5% of gross revenue is typical). And there's all the extra obligations, like build-out requirements.

There was some tax dollar funded subsidies in the ARRA, but it's a vanishingly small fraction of the trillion+ dollars invested in telecom infrastructure in the last few decades.


> The Connect America Fund is funded through a special tax on telcos

Is this one of the taxes that they just throw straight onto my monthly bill?


One, companies can’t just pass on taxes like that. If they add a surcharge, that increases the price of the product, which reduces demand. You can’t pull yourself up by your bootstraps: you can’t increase your revenue by having the government add a tax to your product and kick it back to you, maybe unless you sell heroin or something. (But then you could just raise the price without the pretense and people would pay it.)

Two, AT&T is paying the tax, but the government is mostly kicking the subsidies back to small rural telcos and coops. Telcos with more urban footprints, like AT&T, subsidize telcos in high cost rural areas.

So calling CAF a subsidy to AT&T really makes no sense. It’s like saying Apple would love the government to slap a 5% tax on iPhones and kick the money to providers of low cost phones. Even if Apple could increase prices to compensate, and get some of those subsidies for the iPhone SE, it’d still be worse off than without the “subsidy.”


Oh please. Incumbents love USF, just like they love all other goofy surcharges. That's whey they invented them in the first place. Sure, their customers pay more than those of their competitors, but through their complete domination of PUCs and FCC they get to decide exactly how the programs are administered. As if they actually needed more barriers to entry for any potential competition, the rules of these programs are continually adjusted to fit exactly what incumbents are doing anyway, while imposing ruinous costs on competitors.


Pure fantasy. AT&T got $1.3 billion from the USF in 2007-10. https://www.fiercetelecom.com/telecom/at-t-verizon-are-rolli.... About $450 million per year.

The FCC doesn’t disclose USF contributions by company, but you can guess: https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-303886A3.p.... Total reported telecom revenue is about $300 billion per year during that period. AT&T averaged $120 billion per year in revenue during that period (about 40% of the industry). (This is probably an overestimate because AT&T’s revenue includes non-telecom revenue.)

During that period, USF revenues were $7-8 billion per year. 40% of that is like $3 billion. Even if I’m wrong about AT&T’s revenue share by a factor of 4 AT&T still pays in much more than it gets out.


I would wonder if the subsidies and tax breaks that have been given over to these companies by the government over the years would count towards the idea us having paid for it. There's always that scandal from decades ago that comes up from time-to-time.


Companies were not given subsidies or tax breaks to pay for telephone or power lines. They were allowed to have local monopolies, in exchange for the requirement they provide utility services to all customers in the area, without regard to the cost of building out service to those customers.


The government can't just go and deem something it's property after the fact, even if "we paid for it".


It can be "ours" without being government property.



It would also then, have to pay AT&T for it. ...Again. Because AT&T presently owns their property, and regardless of any handouts they've been given, they'd need to be compensated for it's fair market value in order for the government to relieve them of it.

Also, it's likely eminent domain attempts for Google's benefit would run afoul of the law. I don't think the government can eminent domain something for the benefit of another corporation.


Actually it can. The government is the only thing that enforces the notion of property in the first place


The government has precedent to intervene to make sure new competition is allowed in the market. IANAL but I think they should be exercising this right here, otherwise the incentives are for AT&T to move their wires over for a competitor approximately never.


The real question is, who has to fix it when the Google contractors screw something up?


"(Incidentally, a team of four guys with heavy equipment have spent the last three hours trenching fiber 50 feet through my tiny yard. That's the second visit, and there will be one more, and that's not counting running the fiber down the main road which required months of permitting and surveying...)"

Do you live northwest of Austin, where 18 inches below the surface there is about two feet of solid limestone?


Rocky outcropping. I thought it was going to be a surgical incision, not a ditch. I think they partly went under my neighbor's yard--but they put all the dirt and dead leaves back over so hopefully he doesn't notice!


Not even 18 inches in some places - more like 5 inches. You can get through it with heavy equipment - something like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7720jUW_aIk


Wouldn't really want to listen to that any more than the jackhammer.


Sounds like a mission for the Boring Company.


While I absolutely agree with you, that setup would have been untenable. I had an ATT line hanging about 6 feet off the ground(in Louisville, pole neighborhood). Took ATT multiple calls and visits, a total process of about a month, to adjust that one line on one pole. Now imagine a citywide rollout.


Is that because of legitimate difficulty in the work being done, or because ATT is completely bureaucratically incompetent?

I'm all for having a set of processes and procedures in place, especially for an entity as large as ATT, but even by the standards of telecos their internal workings are a Franz Kafka nightmare.


the latter. I had trouble even reaching them because I'm not an ATT customer. I tried emailing random contacts I could find, to no avail. Finally they sent a guy out, who was an installer but couldn't touch the pole. Said a different team handled that. About 2 weeks later, they took care of it at last. Not hard work - it was literally rebinding a 20 ft section of wire to the taught steel wire that already existed, which they appear to do with heavy wire ties.


I think the FCC should impose a nationwide “one touch make ready” regulation. Federal law already requires non discriminatory access to utility pole, and the FCC already has limits on how long utility line owners can take to do pole adjustments. The FCC has been considering taking that further.


That would be a massive grab of both state and private rights, mostly for the sake of a single company that has asked for it, which is already a monopoly in several other markets and does not need special government favors to help it achieve more.


> a team of four guys with heavy equipment have spent the last three hours trenching fiber 50 feet through my tiny yard. That's the second visit, and there will be one more, and that's not counting running the fiber down the main road which required months of permitting and surveying. I strongly suspect that's why Google pulled out of Fiber.

I wouldn't be surprised if this was a huge factor. Everyone likes to blame regulation for fibre failures, but the "last mile" of fiber to the premise, like many wired broadband technologies before it, is often a nightmare.

Reminds me of this story, where one Norwegian ISP started asking customers to dig their own trench: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2009/05/norwegian-isp-di...


> Google Fiber hit a lot of ^ roadblocks

^ entirely predictable


GF suffers the same fate of every other Google initiative: new exec decides it can't advance his career so it's starved to death in favor of something shinier.

Google won't save us any more than Musk will. It's billionaires launching cars into space and fighting for personal wealth at the detriment of the rest of the society.


> billionaires launching cars into space

Can you help me understand the ire over that launch?

It's standard that new rockets are tested with a dummy payload to avoid destroying something valuable. Typically that's steel plates, but the Falcon Heavy was going to go up with a useless payload regardless. Saturn I-IV did the same, and V only had a payload because it was a module test and a launch test rolled into one.

I suppose the Tesla took up some extra man-hours fitting the car for launch, and the rocket wasn't aimed somewhere it would be destroyed (though I can't tell whether they usually are).

But seeing this spun as "SpaceX won't save us, they're just shooting cars into space!" is baffling to me; it was some personal wealth spent on adding spectacle to a totally normal rocket launch.


Most likely due to the same troll farms that paint the narrative that SpaceX wastes tax payer money.

Now who would not want a new private American company to succeed in revitalizing the industry and increasing competition. Hmm, I can think of a few.

It used to be "NASA is a bloated waste of tax payer money let private Enterprise in."

And now the same people who said that, have been convinced that private industry is stealing.


> the same people who said that

This part doesn't match my experience?

"NASA is a waste" is, broadly, a conservative/Republican stance. Almost everyone I've seen outraged about the Tesla launch was noticeably left of the average Democrat. I don't think a narrative of "they hated the public version, now they hate the private version" holds up for the people I've seen.

Granted, there's a second group on the left who hated NASA before and SpaceX now. But that narrative is usually "space exploration is a waste when people are going hungry", with not much concern about public/private status.


"NASA is a waste" is, broadly, a conservative/Republican stance..."space exploration is a waste when people are going hungry"

It's definitely now also a Far Left talking point. Larry Wilmore basically went back to the old 60's, "Why is there poverty, and we're putting men on the moon?" There's a scene somewhere where he's telling Bill Nye to STFU about his Science. This brings to mind Phillip DeFranco's t-shirt about substituting feelings for facts.


> It's billionaires launching cars into space and fighting for personal wealth at the detriment of the rest of the society.

I would entertain an argument that Google Fiber hasn't actually helped society very much but I have a hard time buying that it's been harmful... At worst, it's driven the other players in the regions it's in to offer more bandwidth for less money. At best, it headed off rising a trend of ISPs deceiving the public about what was possible in an effort to suppress speeds and tightly meter bandwidth...


> It's billionaires launching cars into space and fighting for personal wealth at the detriment of the rest of the society.

What?


"launching cars into space" is a reference to the recent launch of a Tesla into space.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/6/16983744/spacex-tesla-falc...


I know that, but to the detriment of society?


Sometimes it feels like some folks will only be happy when life is completely hive-like, when there is nothing to differentiate anything from anything else, everything is grey, nothing is whimsical, and nobody can put their mark on the world.


I don't completely agree with this argument, but...

All of that money came from somewhere. Do you wonder why most of your local retailers went out of business, and you can't visit a local bookstore or camera shop anymore? It's related to why Jeff Bezos has so much money that he has nothing better to do than shoot stuff into space. Preferably, he will shoot bigger stuff farther than Elon Musk, Richard Branson, or Paul Allen.

It could also be used somewhere else. Is shooting suicidal volunteers at Mars really the best use of billions of dollars?


"the best use" is a horrible standard that leads to shaming 99.99% of charities for not being literal perfection.

Solving difficult engineering problems is usually good for the world.


If anything, shooting cars into space makes them spend money they have on people that dont have money and build the car.

Adam Smith directly says vanity is what took down feudalism. We surely dont want our billionaires to not even spend the money they have!


Please see "I don't completely agree with this argument..."

Printing money and setting it on fire would employ printers and firefighters. I'm not sure Billionaire Space Wars are a net harm to society, but they're pretty silly.


This is incorrect. Access is an Alphabet subsidiary separate from Google and its CEO reports to the Alphabet executive team. The people working on it are incentivized for it to succeed, and the next person up is Larry Page.


I believe you mean that the next person up is Ruth Porat. /s


Actually, you prompted me to check, and Dinni isn't listed as having a manager, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. But I certainly wouldn't deny Ruth's ability to influence Access's direction. :)


GF suffers the same fate of every other Google initiative: new exec decides it can't advance his career so it's starved to death in favor of something shinier.

Apparently, "Don't be Evil" doesn't cover internal company politics.

I remember at a previous job, there was this hefty trans-atlantic data link the company was leasing. All the VPs coveted it, so the political machinations basically resulted in no-one using it, ever, all the while we were paying not-insignificant funds for it.


> It's billionaires launching cars into space and fighting for personal wealth at the detriment of the rest of the society

You conveniently ignored Musk almost went bankrupt after 3 failures initially at space x.


This would be an insightful comment if it provided evidence rather than conjecture. As it stands, it contributes nothing to my understanding of Google Fiber.


> ... at no point was the sentiment, "We've shifted the industry enough that we can stop pretending to want to succeed."

I don't doubt you, but I would definitely expect that sort of messaging even if the true primary goal for GF was to be disruptive, as opposed to profitable.


Right, it's possible the executives weren't straightforward with us simple SWEs. But I don't have any particular reason/evidence for believing that in this case. My general priors for such things are somewhere between 0 and 1, exclusive. :)

FWIW, if I were aware of other plausible explanations for the way Fiber has progressed, Occam's Razor would compel me to believe those explanations versus defaulting to cynicism.


You could say that Google Fiber was a response to Comcast's announcement of its intent to acquire NBC in December 2009.

Google makes no money if they can't show ads to people, and at the time Comcast and friends controlled Google's access to a majority of US audiences that Google's customers (advertisers) wanted their ads in front of. Advertising in the US was more than half of Google's revenue then. Comcast had the only network nationally capable of reliably delivering video and video ads, which was prioritized for growth within Google around then.

I think there was a real fear within Google about the leverage Comcast and other national ISP's had over them. TLS wasn't common, and advertisers weren't nearly as interested in mobile audiences in 2010: wireless data use was a fraction of what it is now. A well-capitalized Comcast without the regulatory restrictions of AT&T or Verizon could create existential trouble for Google if they really wanted to. Google Fiber could have been Google's way of showing they'd be willing to play hardball if it came to that. Any positive PR that came from it was a great bonus, but they almost certainly never made money from Google Fiber.


> Google makes no money if they can't show ads to people

I'm really, really hoping that changes drastically in the next decade. It would be really nice if Google started making the majority of their money from compute cloud offerings (a little out there, but that sector is growing much faster than their general business). I think it's essential if Google's ever going to gain some independence from the perverse incentives they've set themselves up for, and I think that's essential for Google (and society in general) as we move forward.

I'm not sure what to do with Facebook. I don't see people paying for that. Then again, with the amount of time people spend glued to Facebook, they could probably make a tidy business offloading general computing tasks to their users through JS. The concept has been brought up before, generally in the discussion of blockchain mining through websites, but at Facebook's scale and usage it's an entirely different story. I imagine Facebook could have the largest weather supercomputer in the world (by many factors) next week if they really wanted to.

I wonder if Facebook has a department whose job it is to look into developing more parallelizable algorithms for common workloads...


Fundamentally, both Google and Facebook live by questionable morals: Google is a surveillance company trying to branch out, while Facebook is a surveillance and behavioral manipulation company doubling down. Google has some smart engineers, who could maybe make a viable version of the 60s mainframe business when the ad bubble pops. Facebook... I'd pay a couple bucks a month to keep up with acquaintances in a way that's easier than an email list or private Usenet group. But I see them taking the dark path and e.g. selling "consumer profiles" that aren't "credit reports," because "credit reports" are governed by laws.


Personal CRM.


> PS: I think a similar argument can be made for Tesla. I don't think it is a given that Musk intends for Tesla's success to be an economic one.

I think it is though, but probably not in the automotive industry; ATM it still has a lead, just like Apple had for a while on the smartphone market, but I think it'll be passed left and right by the competition.

But by then, Tesla won't be (primarily) a car company anymore, but a battery company, a solar power company (= energy company), and a company with the largest recharge station network in the country. Selling energy and charge stations will be the next generation's oil industry, and Tesla's taking charge there.


People always say Tesla is a battery company, but as far as I know their batteries are made by Panasonic and while I'm sure they're doing research on their own batteries, I don't know why you'd expect them to be more successful than a company that already makes batteries and employs researchers to improve them.


I thought changing this was the whole point of the gigafactories.


Sure, but why would you assume Tesla is going to be better at making batteries than the companies that have done it for years?


I'm not assuming that.


Sorry, I meant a hypothetical "you". Should have written "why would one assume" instead.


Instead, perhaps it was an attempt by Google to change the industry

I’ve been a happy Verizon FIOS customer for 12 years. For $140 per month I have TV with every pay channel, landline phone and gigabit Internet. The gigabit is relatively recent but I get full gigabit speeds for up and down and it is amazing. I think you’re right that I don’t believe Verizon would’ve offered this at this price without the threat of Google and other competitors.


Fwiw, $140 is quite a lot. We shared what everyone was paying for Fios here at work. I'm on the upper end of $65 for 50/50 (no TV). The lowest we found was 1G for $40.

the trick seems to be to cancel and sign up again for the new user deals.


He also mentioned that he gets a TV package.

I believe gigabit is $70 a month stand alone from Verizon.


As I mentioned, the lowest we found here at work was 1Gig for $40.


I'm paying that to Comcast for 25mbit. No competition here.


The $140 includes the $49 “Ultimate Entertainment Pack”. It’s literally every single pay channel. Without that I paid $91 per month for gigabit Internet, TV with Prime channels and Phone.


As I mentioned, the lowest we found here at work was 1Gig for $40.


Spectrum just jacked up the cost of a similar package to $175 in my region.


spectrum, specifically the 2.4ghz band, where google was looking for wireless alternatives is unlicensed no ?


He was most likely referring to the proper noun "Spectrum", rather than the common noun "spectrum". It's a cable tv/internet company owned by Charter.


FKA Time Warner Cable


FWIW Charter was transitioning to the name Spectrum before the purchase of TWC.


Google might have made the $70 price point happen. But I’m not sure I’d overstate it. AT&T and Verizon are deploying gigabit in places where Google will never go. Verizon's gigabit upgrade happened after Google had already paused Fiber expansion. Comcast started offering $150/month multi-gig in my town long after that too.

I strongly suspect 5G is instead causing renewed interest in fiber deployment. Comcast wants to get in on a cellular/wifi hybrid service, and for that it needs backhaul.


Verizon plays shenanigans with it's prices though [0]. Initial pricing that skyrockets after 12 months, for example, and other hidden costs.

[0] https://www.theverge.com/2017/4/25/15423998/verizon-70-gigab...


Comcast had data caps on their broadband packages in Nashville until Google Fiber showed up. GF has shown very little expansion here, but the other guys definitely felt it.


Rather like Valve's "Steam Machine", it's a means for keeping options open?


> I don't think it is a given that Musk ever intended for Tesla's success to be an economic one.

What did Musk tell investors?


I have observed a wide range of attitudes towards deception. Both deception of one's self, and of others.

For example: For some people being 'a liar' is one of the worst things imaginable, but to others it is perfectly fine. The former judge the latter as being immoral monsters, the latter think the former are rather sweet (and are perhaps also glad the former exist?).

Regarding deception of one's self: some people feel there is an absolute truth that can be known, whereas others may choose their reality and belief systems to fit their needs in any given moment.

I'm describing opposite ends of two spectrums here, rather than categories.

I think people make assumptions about where Musk is on those spectrums.


I'm not sure that telling the SEC that there is no absolute truth in the universe is going to fly.


You're right, I think I was just getting a bit carried away on my soap box.


GP is rather sweet, amirite?


Excuse my pedantry, but you're describing opposite ends of a spectrum.


They described four ends...


True, sorry. I misunderstood it on the first read.

New nit: two spectra.


My sense, from the press and from personal acquaintances, is that a lot of early investors, and at least some later investors, were impact investors[1]. DBL Investors is a notable example of an early Tesla impact investor. The successor, DBL Partners, is long on all three Musk companies.[2]

This doesn't mean that Tesla didn't need to be an economic success. It does mean that economic success wasn't the only criterion, or as highly ranked as it is for a non-impact company with non-impact investors.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impact_investing

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DBL_Partners


Good point, but would investors now stand to benefit over all from expediting the development of electric vehicles, solar and space transportation?


People spend good money on cars, electricity, and rocket launches.

I think the last one is a particularly good business because even though the US military has understood that cost reduction is job #1 for the use of space, the conventional cost plus model of developing rockets and then building and launch them can put stuff in orbit but cannot do cost reduction.


I think he started in the company as an investor, and only later took over.


There was so much news about all of the dark fiber that Google was buying up. Every time it popped up in the news, it seemed like people assumed it was for the Google Fiber project.

I wonder if a lot of that ended up being used for GCP datacenter connections?


Comcast still charges too much, but since Google Fiber they stopped sending out techs who barely know more than the troubleshooting checklist they use when you call.


It certainly had that result for me here in Austin. While they slowed/stopped the Google Fiber rollout, I am now able to get fiber from AT&T. And, extremely surprisingly, the customer service has been great.


This is why I'm happy to live in a country like France where the government takes part in deploying those infrastructures (by investing money in the deployment). They planned to equip 50% of the territory by 2017 (which was achieved), and 100% by 2022.

Same goes for public service, profit-focused corporations can't provide the same quality of service.


The US has higher fiber penetration as a percentage of broadband subscribers according to OECD: http://www.oecd.org/sti/broadband/1.10-PctFibreToTotalBroadb... (11.8% versus 9.5%). The US average connection speed on Akamai’s study are also about double that of France: https://www.akamai.com/fr/fr/multimedia/documents/state-of-t... (18.7 mbps versus 10.8 mbps; 48% of the U.S. has a connection above 15 mbps, versus 18% of France).


That number is only higher because the US has fewer broadband subscribers (per inhabitant); the denominator is smaller. The fiber penetration per 100 inhabitants is the same in both, 4%: http://www.oecd.org/sti/broadband/1.2.OECD-FixedMobileBB-201...


The US is far ahead of France on broadband in general, with average speeds 70% to 80% faster. That has been true for a very long time now.

France ranks near the very bottom in Europe in percentages above 10mbps, 15mbps, and 25mbps. In the developed world, France is behind - typically far behind - nearly every nation, including Russia (a far poorer country). France's broadband situation is an embarrassment, nothing has fundamentally changed in that picture for the past decade.


France is laughing stock also due to their ugly captive portal pay for every MAC address WiFis, oh and without an OpenVPN over WebSocket you are pretty much limited to TCP 80 and 443.

And they are slooow as shit too.


> OpenVPN over WebSocket

Now that's interesting. Do you have some stats on CPU efficiency and overhead?


I only used SSH over it, so unfortunately I don't.

And I recommend mosh ( https://github.com/rinne/mosh - the SSH Agent forwarding fork/branch ) to hide the latency as much as possible.


> Same goes for public service, profit-focused corporations can't provide the same quality of service.

This is just categorically false. Where I live our state owned telco is horrible and you have to jump through hoops to cancel your account with them. People have to keep paying them for literally months (sometimes more than 6) after they cancel their service with them to cancel as they just do not process cancellations and then sue you if you do not pay up.

Our fiber revolution was driven not by the state, but by private profit-focused corporations. In fact the state telco now also has fiber - but it costs about twice the price and then you still have to deal with a provider which is sub standard and makes it near impossible for you to cancel their service. I pay about $10 USD more a month for 100mbit/100mbit up/down FTTH than I payed for 4mbit/512k ADSL up/down from state telco.

With just about every other "utility" or "public service" the story is the same here. Police is shit so I have to pay for security if you don't want to get armed robbed raped or murdered, schools are shit so you have to pay for private schools if you want your child to be able to read and write. Electricity supply is shit - every year we have load shedding and prices keep going up while govt is lining their pockets and then looking for ways to further fuck rate payers while getting kickbacks from Russia. And now because the govt has made everything worse for years there is talk about nationalizing industries to fuel populism amongst the almost 30% (official) unemployed and many poor people as our economy has been shrinking for years (and of course this is capitalism's fault now - because private industry makes govt look bad in comparison).

It is theoretically possible to have decent services where there is no competition and govt monopoly - but it is not the norm and I would say in most cases it does not work out this way.


And where are you living? This sounds a lot like being due a high level of corruption. I think that's one challenge to overcome, you're right that public services are not automatically better


Corruption is less of a problem than incompetence and general “not giving a fuck.” Municipal infrastructure makes the most sense in relatively dense cities. But in America, cities are disproportionately where poor people live. (Contrast say Paris, where poor people live in the suburbs and rich people in the city). These are disadvantaged voting blocs that won’t (or can’t) complain that loudly when their public services suck. I saw this starkly when I lived in Wilmington and Philadelphia. The busses in Wilmington might as well not keep any schedule. But nobody cares because the DuPont executives don’t rise the bus, they live in the very nice surrounding suburbs and drive in.


Where I live is irrelevant as this speaks to the point that "profit-focused corporations can't provide the same quality of service.". They can and do all the time. Maybe not in France and maybe not in USA - but the for profit model works just fine here. Why it works so well some places and not at all in others is the real kicker.

And yes the problem is exceptionally high levels of corruption - but if the Govt does not have a self granted monopoly on providing services this provides some measure of containment for corruption and also means that you don't have to pay for everything twice as I have to do now.

And sure - I would like to have a non corrupt govt - but that won't happen ever. So people who make this blatantly false statement that Govt services will always be superior from private services is just giving fuel to the cash grab perpetrated by the Govt of my country.

So yeah, thanks, I guess - thanks for giving the govt of my country excuses for looting even more money - like they needed any to begin with.


> Where I live is irrelevant as this speaks to the point that "profit-focused corporations can't provide the same quality of service."

Um..not sure how validating your evidence is irrelevant. Or even wanting to know more about it.

And to the other poster's point, personal experience impacts interpretations a lot (in both directions). I myself consider the govt inefficient but reliable when compared to private companies. I'm not a libertarian because I trust the govt, but because I trust companies less. I've spoken with people from countries with lots of govt corruption and they find the idea of a reliable govt to be a joke. We each have a lifetime of experience to support our positions.


It is hard to make an argument if you refuse to share the 'source of your information' so to speak.


> This is why I'm happy to live in a country like France where the government takes part in deploying those infrastructures

Does that explain why France is so dramatically far behind the US on Internet speeds, and has been for the last 20 years? Ideally the US goes out of its way to not follow France's path on telecom.

As of Q1 2017:

US average speeds: 18.7 mbps

France average speeds: 10.8 mbps

To put France's figure into perspective, they rank toward the bottom in Europe, behind Russia, Hungary, Lithuania and Poland. They're #27 out of 31 nations ranked in Europe.

France also ranks near the bottom in Europe in % above 10 mbps, at just 31%. The US is at 67%.

And again France ranks near the bottom in Europe in % above 15 mbps, at just 18%. The US is at 48%.

The US is #10 globally when it comes to % over 25 mbps, with 21%. That category saw a one year increase of 65%..

The US ranks in the top 15 globally for highest percentage at 10 mbps, 15 mbps and 25 mbps.

France should be copying the US based on their persistently atrocious broadband figures. And that's with the US approach being subpar.

https://www.akamai.com/fr/fr/multimedia/documents/state-of-t...


That only works where the government is willing though, see Australia for a case study of the opposite.

And keep in mind that in France currently "fiber" means "at least FFTN", much of rural france won't see FTTH for a long time.


Exactly. Fiber to the home is the only fiber than really matters. If there is fiber but my last mile is old copper, then that doesn’t do me a lot of good does it?

France claiming 100% fiber by 2022? They are dreaming, or perhaps even delusional. No way they can get FTTH by 2022. There are some places that don’t have any connectivity and you have to use Satelite.

They’re going to fix that in 4 years?


It depends on what kind of copper. DSL suffers from the limits of twisted pairs over medium-long distances, with only about 1100 kHz available. DOCSIS, with its shielded coaxial cable, has much higher bandwidth available, up to 750 MHz.

In practical terms, this means that DSL has already reached its practical limit with speeds around 30-50 Mbps, whereas Cable Internet still has room to grow around 2-4 Gbps, depending on how many TV channels the operator is ready to sacrifice to Internet traffic.

Of course, this doesn't address congestion / oversubscription issues around cable, but assuming a competently managed network, FTTN with coax as the last mile is still a very good choice in 2018.


Not quite. VDSL2 will nominally do 300 Mbps. Actual 100 Mbps service isn't uncommon.

The successor, G.fast, will nominally do a gig, but about 500 Mbps over short loops.


> Exactly. Fiber to the home is the only fiber than really matters. If there is fiber but my last mile is old copper, then that doesn’t do me a lot of good does it?

I wouldn't go quite that far e.g. let's say you're my parents in a village of 300 (and as many cows) with the DSLAM >5km away, the best DSL you can get is 1024k on a good day (and on average closer to 512k with pings in the half-second range), my understanding is that for them the FTTN node would be roughly at the center of each village.

All of a sudden, unless the village is huge there's <2km between any home and the node and you can expect 15~20Mbps over the entire village.


But how would you carry a model like that over to a place as big as the USA? Montana, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and just about every state that isn't on the East/West coast would have an incredibly difficult time executing this kind of plan because of the distance between communities. I'm not saying that a similar model wouldn't be easy to implement in the boroughs of New York, Boston, SV, Austin, etc., but when you still have 20% of Americans living in not-urban environments. Indeed even the urban environments are far more sprawling and spaced out than anywhere in Europe/Asia (e.g. Dallas/FW, Houston, Phoenix, Austin, and even Atlanta).

The kind of engineering to distribute such a large network seems to mirror the issues with the nationwide power grid that was proposed to allow for consistent solar energy. The USA is just a very, very big place with populations, even urban, that sprawl and are not condensed like in London, Paris, Munich or other countries in the fiber fight.


> But how would you carry a model like that over to a place as big as the USA? Montana, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and just about every state that isn't on the East/West coast would have an incredibly difficult time executing this kind of plan because of the distance between communities.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rural_Electrification_Act

> I'm not saying that a similar model wouldn't be easy to implement in the boroughs of New York, Boston, SV, Austin, etc.

Oh please, the village I'm talking about is not a borough of a major metropolis, it's a small rural village, the closest thing which could be construed as a city has a population of under 50k and is 20km away.

Boston and Austin have metro populations in the millions, there's barely 6 cities in all of France which reach that.

> you still have 20% of Americans living in not-urban environments

Oh good point, let's check the percentage of rural population in france. Hey look, it's 20%. Wow, probably an outlier, let's check Germany. Oh, 24%. Maybe Spain? 20% again.

And these are highly urbanised countries mind, Ireland and Portugal are sitting at 36% rural population.

> The USA is just a very, very big place with populations, even urban, that sprawl and are not condensed like in London, Paris, Munich or other countries in the fiber fight.

None of London, Paris or Munich are countries, they're major/capital cities inside countries which have their own non-urban populations.


America as a whole does have a lot more remote areas. France only has one department with a population density of less than 10 per square kilometer according to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_French_departments_by_...). Compare that to America and note all of the counties with a population density of less than 10 per square mile (https://www.census.gov/dmd/www/pdf/512popdn.pdf) -- and a square mile is a larger unit than a square km. Fiber absolutely might be cost prohibitive in certain areas.

I still agree with you, though, that America could do something if there was a strong enough will. Even if the cost of fiber is prohibitive, it seems like there are wireless technologies out there that would be better than the zilch broadband 23 million Americans currently have. (https://www.npr.org/2018/03/03/590546371/rural-communities-t...)


I don't want to pick a side here, but "rural" in the USA and "rural" in Europe are two different things. Once you get away from the coasts, things get very sparse and very big. In many places, if you were 20km from a center of 50,000 people, you would actually be considered to be living in that town of 50,000 people. I personally live about 30km from my city center, I am considered part of that city (including my mailing address), and I don't think anyone around here considers it rural. Rural in America means you might have to drive hours on the weekend just to go shopping. 100s of kms of nothing between you and the next town in some places. And since they are ranching areas on poor soil, there are houses all in between that need to be reached. We are talking about one family on around 400 square kilometers of land. I have family that live in a community like that, and it is not uncommon in many areas.

Consider this, the state of Texas alone is bigger than all of France, and while it has several huge cities in it, it still has less than half the population of France. Montana is more than half the land area of France, and only has 1 million people living in it.

It would be a lot easier to just give up on the 1% that are truly scattered to the winds with little homesteads in the middle of no-where. But hopefully we can get some really good low earth orbit satellite internet and not have to worry about all this.


This is something Australia tried to tackle with the NBN, and I would guess that Australia is far more rural and less densely populated than the US. In Australia the solution was a mixture of fibre (FTTP then FTTP), fixed wireless, and then satellite.


That's always a misconception about Australia, as someone who has lived in both.

The NBN failed largely because of a government ideology that neutered it from FTTH to FTTN, if that.

Australia is fairly equivalent to the US for many areas with the exception of the (relatively) uninhabited interior.

If you combined a list of US and Australian cities by population, the top five Australian cities would be in the top 10:

New York (8.5M), Sydney (5.0M), Melbourne (4.7M), LA (3.9M), Chicago (2.7M), Brisbane (2.3M), Houston (2.2M), Perth (2.0M), Philadelphia (1.6M), Adelaide (1.5M).

The notion of Australia as quaint rural villages is used as an excuse by defenders of the status quo. The US is just so unique, "Oh, it's bigger", "more dense", "cities are different here", etc., et al.


I think you are making the mistake of comparing Australia's "Greater Capital City Statistical Areas" [0] with United States cities, when the GCCSAs are better compared to US Metropolitan Statistical Areas [1]. The top US MSAs, labeled by key city) are

(1) New York - 20.2M (2) Los Angeles - 13.3M (3) Chicago - 9.5M (4) Dallas - 7.2M (5) Houston - 6.8M (6) Washington, DC - 6.1M (7) Philadelphia - 6.1M (8) Miami - 6.1M (9) Atlanta - 5.8M (10) Boston - 4.8M

Only Sydney would make the top 10, coming in just above Boston.

Both the US and Australia have cities / metro areas that are significant in population as well as huge low-density areas, but the US metro areas are definitely larger. This makes sense given an overall population of 323M vs 24M.

See

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_in_Australia_by...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_metropolitan_statistic...


You definitely make a good point, but on the flip side of that is also that the MSAs are probably more overarching than GCCSAs.

For example, the Seattle MSA extends as far north as Burlington, Mt Vernon, as far east as almost Lake Chelan, and as far south as Packwood near White Pass.

No one would credibly claim that White Pass was a part of Seattle, any more than Lake Chelan.

Whereas Melbourne absolutely would consider Boronia on the east a suburb, Campbellfield on the north, and Frankson in the south all suburbs.

I do get what you are saying, and of course with that population number it is so, but I don't think that there's really a great correlation (mainly as a result of Census in the US using a non-standard definition of the internation "metropolitan area" to basically... "anywhere else".

That being said, when you look at "as a percentage of the population", Sydney and Melbourne at ~20%, the others at ~10%, there's also not the argument of "hey, these US cities are far more dense and complex than Australia's", when the complexity is far more often a result of _artificial barriers and restrictions in the market_ than anything logistical.


Are you actually serious? I live in the Luberon, not far from Avignon and Apt and our internet speeds are 0.8 mbs up and 8 mbs down. So 800 KILObytes up. And that’s for a “business” connection! That’s thanks to Orange’s practical monopoly out where I live. I get to pay over €100 per month for such innovation. My total monthly bill with two cell phones and internet is €360. Which is insane — that is approaching $450 a month.

Thanks French government, you suck. I pay confiscatory taxes — including incredibly high taxes on my internet and phone service and what do I get for it? Abysmal speeds. Given the geographic size of France — it should be covered in fiber already, but my area is projected at 3 years out.

They won’t have 100% fiber by 2022. It’s impossible given the French propensity to make the simple complex, and the inexpensive, expensive. If Orange is a representation of the power of French innovation, then I fear for the future. That’s a company that has separate sign in systems based on the type of account you have and a system that takes 2 weeks to update when payments are made by credit card. Orange represents the single worst experience I have ever had as a customer — that includes my time living in the US and dealing with companies such as Time Warner. The French electric service, EDF, is a close second.

You want to talk about government and successful internet infrastructure initiatives — have a look at South Korea.

But France? Innovative? It’s all for show. It still is a pain in the ass to accomplish anything in that country. Europe uses IBANs almost universally, for example, yet French utilities still insist on the RIB. The insurance company I have can’t do prelevements with my German IBAN. It’s ridiculous.

Just because a government spends money on something doesn’t mean that government is any good at what they’re spending money on.


> our internet speeds are 0.8 mbs up and 8 mbs down. So 800 KILObytes up.

Your conversions might be mistaken.

For example, at my place of work, on ADSL2:

Down Stream : 6696Kbps / Up Stream : 736Kbps

So slightly worse than you. Converting directly to kilobytes, we've got 837 KB/sec down and 92 KB/sec up. Shave off around 20% to get real-world speed, because those are sync rates, not actual throughput.

Unless you actually have 8/0.8 MBytes down/up, equivalent to 64/6.4 Mbps down/up, which is quite decent! (Still maybe not quite €100 good).


In Switzerland there are regions with FFTH. Click on this map to see where FFTH is available:

https://map.geo.admin.ch/?layers=ch.bakom.anschlussart-glasf...

Thanks to this map it was easy to select the right place to move to, and we are currently in the process of moving... to an home equipped with FFTH!


I live in Zurich, I have Fiber7 (https://init7.net) at home and couldn't be any happier. They don't cost more than the DSL packs of the big firms, I get 500 mb up and down on the router with wifi and they have superb support!


+1 I use them in Lausanne. 777 CHF/year is a great deal!

Interesting model: the price is the same for everyone, while bandwidth is the maximum they can offer in your location. Excellent support. I bought a TP-LINK MC220L + patch cables from them, and hooked up an edgerouter lite for PPPoE & VLAN tagging. Already had a wifi router (google wifi), which sadly can't do VLAN tagging. Haven't noticed any issues with the double NATing.


That model has a downside for the customer: the company has no incentive to invest to upgrade your speed, as you already pay them the one fixed amount.


Market pressures take care of that when they exist. Networking is a pure commodity business, you can squeeze a lot of cost out of it, but in the absence of competition the providers get fat, lazy and rich.

Once you deliver the fiber, the marginal cost of increasing port speed is a rounding error as you do routine infrastructure refresh.

Where I work, we’re increasing many wan links to 10Gb because the cost is marginal at scale. In some cases, it can save money versus an older slower tech!


More than the FFTH penetration, I'm impressed you can open a map and see which places currently have fiber Internet. I live in the "Capital of Silicon Valley" and I can't do anything similar.


That's great ! They created a similar service in france : https://observatoire.francethd.fr/


> Same goes for public service, profit-focused corporations can't provide the same quality of service.

There's just no way you can draw a conclusion like this. I would be equally right in say that public corporations never have an incentive to improve services due to lack of a market or competition (see mass transit).

The rollout of a nationalised national broadband/fibre network in Australia has been an interesting one for a number of reasons. We've actually seen private companies roll out their own networks to compete with both the public provider AND other private companies.

Ultimately, the quality of these services is going to depend on a whole lot more than "public vs private"


It would help if the USA was as small as France.


It is interesting that this argument is reflexively brought up every time someone mentions infrastructure.

It is not the absolute size that matters, it is density and clustering degrees. And there are some sparsely populated countries in Europe that manage to build infrastructure just fine.

Population density:

    USA: 35.0/km² (90.6/sq mi)
    Norway:  15.8/km² (40.9/sq mi)


That doesn't take population spread into consideration though; Norway has most people live in the south, like how most people in Canada live near the south / southeast and how there's huge empty / low population areas in the US compared to the more urbanized east and west coast.


62.7% of the US population lives in just 3.5% of land area: https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2015/cb15-33....


The problem with arguments like that is that when you start involving the federal government in anything, the expectation is 100% coverage - not 62.7%.


It's worse than that when you account for the fact that rural votes count a lot more than urban votes: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-petrocelli/its-time-t....


France has approximately the same population as the Northeast megalopolis (the Boston–Washington Corridor) but the French population is spread out over three times the area.


And Metropolitan France has a density 116/km2, it's just a bit above Pennsylvania (110) or Ohio (109) and significantly below Florida (145).


To begin start in a metropolitan region and if it is profitable expand. The problem is something different: The incumbent providers are successful in preventing competition.


A lot of states are the same size or smaller than France and none of them has achieved to get the same internet price/quality so far. Not to mention the the US has a more concentrated population than most of Europe so it's even easier.


You can’t compare what a state can pay for with what a federal government can pay for - the difference in taxation alone makes that laughable...


It's probably unproductive to compare state vs federal budgets across different countries due to the drastically different funding modal different countries use.


Well, to be fair to the private sector... it's only thanks to Xavier Niel that the French have such affordable internet (and now mobile too).

Before he disrupted those two markets, it was just as bad as the US. Remember the "Forfait RSA" the government crowed about having negotiated for the poorest citizens? 40mn and 40SMS for 10 euros per month...


Australia's nbnco would disagree with you.


I would like my city to implement fiber too but, how are the taxes in France?


Funny though. No offense and I love France, and I love Europe (really do!), but FB's and GOOG's and BABA's of the world seem to be ... elsewhere? inverse correlation?


There is probably a place in the world for both, but I would rather smaller, competitive companies, over encumbent monopolies and aggressive investment strategies (build a moat with money and watch everything else fail).


Puzzled why it came across as big vs small cos. Who's been the smaller competitive company out of Europe to take on incumbents? Skype? Dailymotion? Spotify? Blablacar? Seznam.cz? That's... it? Seems a bit underwhelming for 1/2 billion highly educated rich people with fast internet, no?


I just don't think it matters much that the rest of the world doesn't have massive, unicorn tech companies. I don't believe they are the unwavering innovators we make them out to be. They are amazing in their space, sure, but most tech companies aren't actually that big economically speaking.

Silicon Valley has been a playground for venture capitalists and their beneficiaries but I would wager that their influence, while wildly public and social, is only important inside it's bubble, and much of that influence has been frivolous, bought or self inflated. Does anyone really need Facebook or Twitter, or Hootsuite or Gmail? They have only existed for circa ten years each.

So I don't believe it's the beacon of social benefit or industrial power. It is certainly a beacon of wild capitalism, excitement and glamour. Whether that's a good thing or not is hotly debated, but a world without SV unicorns would move on just fine.


What does the existence of mentioned companies have to do with the quality of life in a country? For their employees, maybe, but I don't think FB/GOOG/MSFT employ most of the US population?


Quality of life, of course not. But Europe taking over the world with startups and new tech? ...um I'd love it if it was the case, but it's just not.


The GP said nothing about startups, though. They were only talking about access to a good Internet connection at a reasonable price. Not to mention, GOOG etc. is not a startup, is it?

Anyway, going on this tangent, Europe is different. We've had our share of global domination already (which was expensive and unsustainable in the long run), as well as our share of innovation-by-any-means-necessary (which resulted, among other things, in pollution and WWI). We've decided we don't really need either to live a good life. We can still easily buy whatever innovation you come up with if it proves to be safe and useful. We're happy to leave beta-testing to others.


France had Minitel before the Internet was a consumer-product.

It's true that Europe does "disruptive" startups less, because people don't like being disrupted as much, but it's not true that France is a land of tech-illiterate peasants. It's just that the tech is done in large, somewhat lumbering but nonetheless profitable, megacorps.

Orange, Vivendi, Airbus, Bull, ST, and so on.


Why exaggerate with peasants? Also funny down below someone chastises me for apparently rooting for "megacorps"... the irony.


If you want huge cash-money you goto USA. For <=$100K/year EU is probably better. I think, not really sure. But first part is true.


USA seems to run on spectacle.

Europe, if one can even process such a mix of cultures as a single entity, seems to abhor spectacle.


Do you believe big corps makes the economy stronger?


It's kind of irrelevant what I believe because they do own this space by now, for better or worse.


s/elsewhere/nowhere/

Facebook is really just money, and money doesn't have a location. In terms of offices and employments and locations and blah Facebooks is as big as a middling supermarket chain.

Which isn't to say that money is bad or irrelevant or anything. Just that it isn't local in a meaningful way. Facebook is local to wherever that ugly office building is in much the same way that half the world's aircraft are Irish.


I remember the prevailing attitude at the time in message boards being that Google had no real intention of taking this serious and was instead just trying to bluff the entrenched interests to upgrade.

It worked in the markets Google rolled out in...and that was it. These companies stubbornly refused to preempt Googles expansion anywhere.

Maybe they called Googles bluff, maybe they were never nimble enough to even think about getting ahead of Google let alone execute it, and maybe Google was just never that serious in the first place.


I think the time you are referring to was at least a few news cycles after the start of Google fiber.

I think it genuinely was received as the Cool New Thing for a while. Then the cities applied to be Google fiber cities. Then fiber rolled out to some cities. At some point competitors responded by upgrading their service. And then with some retrospection, we collectively looked back at that series of events and said "ah, this must have been Google's plan all along."

I honestly don't doubt that Google's initial plan was insanely ambitious. And that what transpired, while falling far short of the original vision, nevertheless did advance their interests. But my recollection of the events as they unfolded in real time wasn't that this was their plan from the start, or that people felt that way, until a few news cycles passed and it was clear that it spurred other internet providers to action.

But I do agree with you that it definitely did become the prevailing wisdom, eventually.


This is true, I believe, and in my area of the country, we went from 10Mb to 125Mb in short order. And now, years later, even ATT now offers 1Gb fibre (though limited areas and still mostly slow 3Mb everywhere else) .


Or, just face value, wireless is where the big money is.


Google seems to halfass a lot of their products. I really had expected it would at least be live in the Bay Area right now. It's not like Google doesn't have the money.


My understanding is that homeowners in the bay area have some next level NIMBY ism that even Google can't overcome. Those fiber huts have to go somewhere...


Maybe this is an overreaction to being stuck with Australian internet for the past decade, but if anyone in my neighbourhood was to resist the installation of fibre it'd be fucking on for young and old.


I have my pitchfork ready, Jono.

Actually we finally got NBN on my street and I am syncing at 75mbit (paying for 100) and frankly I am over the moon. The fastest I have had previous, after living all over AU, was 14mbit down, and I was the envy of my friends for that roaring waterfall of data.

Everyone else I know is on around 8mbit even in 2018.


Hoping against hope that we get a similar result when NBN rolls around to my neighbourhood. It would be absolutely awful for them to "upgrade" our system, after waiting so long for this, to the exact same or worse speeds as the ADSL we've been stuck with all this time.


That sounds like a dream. I'm sharing a 6/1 connection with 3 housemates and 2 partners. I honestly feel like I'm back in the days of dial-up.


And yet companies like AT&T and Comcast have been able to improve their infrastructure and launch fiber in more and more areas in the Bay Area (it's more than just San Francisco, you know!)

The cause is not NIMBYism, or any other negative traits you might try to tag on to people from the Bay, but rather, the existing telecom companies and their attempts to protect their pseudo-monopoly.

https://www.mercurynews.com/2016/03/10/google-fights-att-com...


To be fair, AT&T and Comcast have existing infrastructure (mostly poles) they can leverage.


Well, when you spend several million dollars to buy a house I understand you're likely to be afraid of anything that threaten your investment and turning NIMBY.


With the state of the Australian housing market, having Fiber-optic internet would likely add to the property value


It was more PR that delivery. In my area AT&T brought fiber and we were not in an area important enough for Google. Bemoan the big cable and phone companies all we want but they deliver a lot more and quietly. For me any time I read about one of the internet big tech companies rolling out service traditionally performed by older companies as nothing more than a PR grab.

People at work were all excited when the announcement for our major metropolitan area was announced until the areas were given and it was like, what is the point if your in such limited areas?

I know more outside of my metro Atlanta area with fiber than within. that to me is just backwards but I will take it. I like my hick neighborhood and with fiber I can work from home a lot more


I think Google has too.much money. They can try a lot of stuff but there isn't much pressure to succeed.


Or moreover it shows that money isn't necessarily the limiting factor in success that many perceive it to be.


That's what I am thinking when people talk about tax cuts. Apple or Google don't need more money. They already have more than they can invest productively.


That's an explanation -- another is that Apple and Google believe that future uses of the resources could yield greater aggregate return (or serve as a bulwark against a downturn).

"Cash is a call option with no expiration date" https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/042613/cash-...


Our city just built a fiber network and GF was the first to offer service.

Since they have come to town, ATT has installed their own fiber network in our neighborhood and Comcast has increased their speeds. I consider our local area disrupted. And I feel no matter what happens with GF, we’ll have faster internet from now on.

BTW: cut the cord. GF 1Gb plan with DirecTV Now and YouTube TV.


I'm happy for you, but I think you have to realize that you're in the minority in this country with the levels of choice and competition you have.


I wish I had any choice. I'm stuck using my phone as my primary internet source because my Comcast cable connection drops every fifteen minutes. After several tech support calls and router/modem replacements, I assume they either don't know how to fix the issue or they just don't care.


Unfortunately disruption is a temporary state. Hopefully the existing incumbents will continue to provide enough competition in your area to keep each other in check.


I feel like it would be very difficult for them to dial back. In my area the same thing occurred. Google Fiber was announced, and suddenly AT&T had fiber to home options available. Then spectrum magically increased their available speeds.

If one of them dials down their service levels, users will just swap to the other. They would have to be concerted in their service downgrades if they didn't want to lose customers.


I think some people still don't realize quite how expensive it is to truly build out a national Telecom network. I remember when Clearwire raised ~$7 billion [1] and still wasn't in many markets and rural areas, ultimately selling to Sprint for pennies on the dollar. The infrastructure costs are staggering, and even a rich company like Google can't just dip their toes in hoping to succeed.

[1] https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/clearwire#section-fu...


Yes, I agree this is the key here. Google realized FTTH is too expensive in most places, and still are looking at wireless IIUC. Except for new buildings in dense areas or similar, it's likely that bringing fiber close and going over the remaining distance with either 3.5 GHz radio or millimeter waves (former better for range, later for available BW) makes more sense. We'll see soon how well it works in practice, 5G NR deployments will start with fixed wireless like this.


http://www.speedtest.net/result/7112084631 is my 4G home wireless "broadband" plan's speed in suburban Melbourne, Australia. Basically 10/1 Mb which is not great, but still much better than what I was getting with ADSL, and I'll have to wait another year or two until the NBN rollout reaches my house. But by 2020 the mobile networks will be rolling out 5G.

Apart from mailing out the modem to me, my wireless ISP has basically zero marginal installation cost for adding me as a customer, assuming their closest towers have sufficient capacity (they vetted my address first before selling me the wireless modem). And I know for a fact that they're capping my modem's speed in software as my 4G smartphone's connection is much faster. This is why the NBN's CEO said wireless networks are its biggest threat.


Is there any cap on that? Here I can get uncapped 100mbit/100mbit up/down fiber for a fraction of the cost of 100GB data over mobile/wireless broadband.


Monthly cap is 200 GB. I typically use 50 GB/month, so it's effectively unlimited.


GF potential customer here in Atlanta, I will say 5 years in it has been nothing but a series of disappointments. I was in one of the first neighborhoods to get GF actually laid down. I have been promised "any day now" for 2 years. But what it looks like is if your house is not on a direct fiber line, it will never be coming. GF had promised it would get ATT to complete the 1 block connection between their fiber and my house for 2 years.

However I did get fiber from ATT for 100 meg symmetrical for 50 bucks a month. And unlike comcast it really delivers 100 megabits per second. I could have gotten the full gig fiber for 70 a month. But it did not seem worth it.


Sounds like GF succeeded in getting you gigabit Fiber Internet for $70/month to me. :-)


It did indeed! Just not on the expected path.


Similar situation. Got on the waiting list as soon as they put it up. Got my "Google Fiber" T-shirt. And then nothing, for several years.

When Comcast offered 1000Mbps* service for $70/mo with a three year contract, I gave up. Interestingly, this offer only seems to have been available in likely GF service areas and was a pretty transparent attempt to tie up potential GF customers with a nice early termination fee.

* download. Upload is 40Mbps.


Interesting, implies that it is still a cable based backbone. I still remember the PITA back in the days where I needed to do 800 meg updates to my game, it took two hours to post it! I would have loved 40, and 100 was unimaginable.


I credit GF for getting Cox and Centurylink to roll out fiber here in Phoenix.

I have gigabit through Centurylink at a reasonable price. Thx Google!


> By late 2016, Google executives clearly started becoming disenfranchised by the slow pace ...

I assume they mean "disenchanted" -- this sentence makes no sense as written.


There's another malapropism further down too - so-and-so trying to bring financial constraint (restraint) to Alphabet.


Yeah, I'm a bit befuddled as to how a journalist can miss these.


It bugged me a lot too that there are a lot of sloppy editorial errors that were somehow not picked up by the journalist, nor the copy editors, and the editor(s) in chief before publishing a headline story like this. It reminded me of how far we've slipped in journalism quality :/


Maybe the expansion pace was tied as an incentive to their corporate voting power?


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