Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Google Fiber Plans & Pricing (fiber.google.com)
1139 points by stevewilhelm on July 26, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 466 comments



Thank GOD they're disrupting this industry. All the telcos are worthless "Soviet bureaus" that deserve death.

It's really sort of amazing to think about. In all my years on this planet I have never been pleased with a telecom company. Never. I have always felt like I was paying far too much for inferior service, contemptible customer support, and endless efforts to further "monetize" me through harassing phone calls trying to sell me more stuff, intrusive DNS systems that redirect me to their crappy web sites, etc.

There is not a single other industry I can say that about, certainly not one that comes to mind so quickly. Hell, I can't even say that about the government.

As if that's not bad enough, this industry seems to spend a lot of money lobbying to destroy the open Internet, which is like a car company lobbying to increase the number of annoying traffic regulations in order to make it less enjoyable to drive.


I'm actually somewhat content with my broadband options. No, I'm not ecstatic and am glad this is happening but PLEASE someone disrupt the damn cell phone business. My ISP doesn't install software on my computer, doesn't hit me with mystery fees, and doesn't tell MS or Apple what to do, but cell carriers do all these things and more.

>and endless efforts to further "monetize" me through harassing phone calls trying to sell me more stuff,

Never happened to me, but all carriers text subscribers "deals" and other marketing garbage.

> intrusive DNS systems that redirect me to their crappy web sites, etc.

Never noticed and if I did its trivial to change DNS.

Cell phones on the other hand do all these things. I mean, Verizon just told google that its Wallet NFC stuff simply isn't allowed. Imagine if Comcast said "You can't install LibreOffice on your computer because we're thinking of entering the office game." I won't even go into uninstallable carrier apps, commercial spying, mystery charges, and billing fraud.

Maybe Google Fiber will the the backend for a future wireless roll out. One can hope.


Maybe once you have tried Gigabit (GIGABIT!) internet, on a daily basis you won't feel the same. Cloud storage and a bunch of other things will now feel very different.

- Why own a computer when you can just vpn into a cluster through a thin client?

- Why own a game system...

- Stream 4k HD movies

- A whole bunch of ideas not thought of yet.

0r maybe your right and it wont be that different, I would like the chance to see if it does make a big difference. The current telcos were not in that game, google is.


This is kinda how I feel about self-driving vehicles. People really don't seem to get it. It will change everything.

- You can call your car if you need it like Bruce Wayne calls the Batmobile.

- You can send things across town. No more courier or logistics.

- No more DUIs or drunk driving accidents.

- No more accidents period.

- No more insurance.

I know it's still a ways off, but damned if I'm not excited as hell. <3 Google.


You didn't even list the big stuff. In the short term we get the benefits you describe. In the long term the way we build cities and thus live our lives changes for the better as they become denser and much more space efficient.


I think it'll work the other way - with a self driving car, long commutes will be more tolerable, since you can do other things while you drive (are driven), so sprawl will increase. Imagine having some sort of bathroom built in to the car - you could do your morning grooming in the car, which means you could commute 30-60 minutes without losing any time you wouldn't be spending doing the same thing at home anyway.


I'm not even sure we can predict that far ahead what such a revolution would mean for human civilization. It would truly be game-changing.


Denser cities sounds like a con to me. I would much prefer to not be 2 inches from my neighbor.


A con by whom? Obviously, you may not enjoy living close to other people and will choose to live in lower density areas. Fair enough, and, at least in the US, we're not short on space. (I will only add that density is typically measured as people per square foot of ground, meaning you might simply be above and below your neighbors). But creating environments where people can live in higher densities can't be a bad thing.

And the benefits are manifold for those who do want to live in cities. Diversity of options is a big one--that food truck that serves gluten-free venison tacos can only exist somewhere with enough people that such a niche can survive, so the long tail of preferences can be accommodated. Infrastructure is in dense places is cheaper per capita; tearing up one road/pipe/sewer can benefit thousands of people instead of just whoever lives in that one cul-de-sac. Public transportation becomes more practical, enabling people to go where they want cheaper and more easily. A higher concentration of jobs and workers means there can be a better matching of needs and skills, making businesses more successful and workers happier.

So sure, you may wish to forgo all that to have a yard and some space. I'm sure the housing market and broadband companies will oblige. But in general, practical dense cities will be a boon to society, from which we'll all benefit.

Edit: clarity.


Not only all that, but there's been a lot of evidence over the past couple of decades that the rate of innovation per capita goes up with density. Density brings more people into contact more frequently, which leads to more innovation, more economic growth and more employment.


Is that still true though? (genuine question).

When I was a boy, twenty years ago I firmly believed that I would need to move to London as soon as I could, just for the British library and access to information. Then the internet happened (well the web, and it was already happening but for me, that's when it happened). The internet made distance so much less of a factor, and i suspect that this trend will only continue. I suspect the density/creativity association will break down, but I have no evidence either way, so I could be completely wrong.


Still true. If anything, it's getting more true over time as cities get more efficient at bringing people into productive contact.


lots of roads can be one lane one way if all the drivers are perfect.


There's also a downside: a huge spike in usage. People will be willing to commute a lot further if they can sleep en route. That means more traffic and more energy used.


> Why own a game system...

There's actually a service called "OnLive" that streams games, it seems pretty cool. It's a mashup between Steam and Netflix; you don't have to have a gaming PC to render the frames, just a fast Internet connection to stream them.


I... I just played Civ 5 there on a whim after googling for that service and it's pretty amazing. My jaw dropped. I'm on a 20mbps download and 1.5mbps upload for whatever it's worth. Also, the app warned me of being on an high latency connection (I don't know their threshold) but the videos and the game are smooth.


Not until we can push data across distances faster than the speed of light.

The input and video latency makes it impractical for all but the slowest-paced of games.


Your comment reminded me of:

I can send an IP packet to Europe faster than I can send a pixel to the screen. How f’d up is that?

From: http://superuser.com/questions/419070/transatlantic-ping-fas...

There is user-side latency and there is server-side latency. In multi-player games it may be preferable to have less latency within the game between players than in the players' view of the game.


You can send a packet to Europe and have it return faster than your fingers can respond to something your eyes just saw.


Note that this doesn't mean the latency is irrelevant. All latency is additive. Unless it's zero, matter how low it is, shaving away another millisecond is always worth it.


It's always beneficial, that doesn't mean it's always worth it. I could spend $300+/month on an internet connection with a tenth of the bandwidth of what Google's rolling out here (seeing that I don't live in Kansas City) and it would certainly be beneficial for me, but it's certainly not worth it


I have a line with that connection, and its only 50 euro a month (only in the cities though, out in the bogs its 8mb if you're lucky).


Depends on the distance. I have 14ms roundtrip latency to the closest google CDN -- that's less than what the typical monitor adds. Most of world's population lives in cities where putting up a game CDN is potentially worthwhile.


Give onlive a try... it really is on the level. AFAIK, they receive your input and process it server-side. What you get is in essence a live video stream. I am sure that it is more complicated in execution, but they make it work - and damn well.


Errr. Have you tried it?

I've spent several playing first person shooters and it's easy to forget you're not playing locally.


There has to be latency issues, but as anyone that used to play Quake over dial-up can tell you: you get used to it.


A local client does not suffer from input latency and the client does not validate camera movement (mouselook) to server snapshots . There's also some leeway into other kinds of movement so latency jitter and a few dropped packets do not inadvertently disrupt the player's flow. Furthermore, the server does latency compensation that is crucial for actually hitting anything, especially with hitscan weapons lacking AoE damage. All the above is a very simplified explanation of what happens, more details at following PDF [1].

Games on OnLive lack the above features and you also have input lag, where, for example, a camera movement with the mouse will take the full network RTT plus processing time to reflect on the client's screen.

[1] http://web.cs.wpi.edu/~claypool/courses/4513-B03/papers/game...


That's true, I remember there being lots of prediction and compensation in QuakeWorld especially.

I haven't played the OnLive stuff so I'm not sure what it's like, but with a decent connection I'm guessing it's something that your brain just ends up dealing with. Although if it's anything like using RDC for a long period of time I can see it getting annoying.


Wow you just brought back memories. I remember when a 250 ping was fantastic :)


Probably with a gigabit in bandwidth, it's possible that OnLive could use some kind of predictive modeling based on what you're currently doing and what you've done in the past to see what actions in the future are likely. It could then run (in parallel) all the likely actions and send them down simultaneously (example: simultaneously send what would be displayed if you panned right, left, up and down one or more frames before the user has given input and the client caches these frames and renders the one that the user ends up doing).

Sure it would be a "waste" of compute power and network, but that's certainly one way to, in a sense, "push data across distances faster than the speed of light". That's exactly the kind of approach which would be unimaginable in a scenario where you have to worry about compressing media in order to get a single stream across in a timely manner (read: now), but might actually fall within the realm of possibility when gigabit bandwidth is ubiquitous.


I think computing power would be a much bigger issue than bandwidth. You'd need to run many instances of the game for each user, and continuously kill and fork them.

And frankly, a $500 computer today can already display quite good graphics. Maybe by the time gigabit bandwidth is ubiquitous, computers will be usable enough that installing and running a game locally will be as seamless as clicking a link on a web page, so we won't need cloud gaming amymore.


And then a cheating client will be developed that uses the information in these "alternate timeline" frames to alert you of enemies around the corner, etc.

I'm not saying that's catastrophic, but I think the impossibility of cheating is one of OnLives clear advantages. Sure you can write a bot, but it will only have access to the same information a human player does.


> Not until we can push data across distances faster than the speed of light.

Ok, how is that possible? I genuinely am curious about the science. Feel free to provide links.


The current approach is as follows: 1) User sends next action to OnLive. 2) OnLive renders the frame and sends it to the user. 3) Repeat.

The "faster than light" approach is: 1) OnLive renders several frames that could be the outcome of all the possible actions by the user, and sends all of them to the user. 2) User chooses the next action. 3) The frame is already available and is rendered ASAP. 4) The action is sent to OnLive. 5) Repeat.

It is of course not actually faster than light, but it's faster than the time required to send light to OnLive and back. Although, if you're going to this trouble, you may as well just render the frames locally and not bother with OnLive at all... :-S


I'm pretty sure that was sarcasm.


Well, going faster than the speed of light isn't possible, but if compressed really well, you could theoretically send massive quantities of data really quickly.


For example, if you want to play a game with someone who's on the other side of the world (or the galaxy) without that annoying lag imposed by relativity, you can simply have them send you a full scan of their brain, and then you can simulate it locally (not necessarily in your computer, it can run in the nearest Google MindSharing Center™).

Heck, you don't even need to play the game yourself. Send Google a copy of your brain too, and they will simulate the encounter in their servers and insert the memory in your brain when they're done. EVERYTHING can run in the cloud!


Wonder how much the weather in Kansas can deal with this. I still might be hesitant to depend on streaming content or entirely cloud storage if I can't guarentee access in a tornado. Even without weather concerns, if I somehow mess up my configuration and don't have a reliable network connection, I don't want to be entirely cut off.

Still good, but I won't be abandoning local storage any time soon.


I've lived in Kansas City and can tell you that worrying about a tornado knocking out my internet or any sort of service was never an issue.

Is the Wizard of Oz your reference for weather in KC? ;)


Ice storms are another story. When I lived in KC I had week-long outages twice due to ice storms knocking over large fractions of trees.


My reference is living in mid Missouri - we've had a bit of fun recently with tornadoes and other weather related outages are common. Granted, I live in a small town, so we probably have worse infrastructure than KC.


I know your question is a joke but for me... it pretty much is. I know bugger all about KC, except that in the back of my head there's a connection to Dorothy.


Fun fact: Kansas City is not in Kansas. :)


Actually I do (or at least thought I did) know two other things, one being that it is split across two states, and the other being that the KC Royals come from there.

Having now Googled... wow, so they're technically two cities with the same name literally right next to each other, not one big city?

And turns out the Royals are from KC, MO, but I presume they have a lot of support from KC, KS as well?


> so they're technically two cities with the same name literally right next to each other, not one big city?

It's one metropolitan area, but governmentally, yes, it is 2 separate cities (+ a lot of suburban cities). Politically, it's a dysfunctional family. It's really hard to get anything done, but occasionally that works to the benefit because you have competing governments. Most of the time its a detriment though.

The sports teams get support from both sides of the state line.


Kansas City, KS is.


As always, it's smart to have redundant backups. However, your stuff is way, way safer, in terms of destructability, on Google's infrastructure than your own, especially in the case of tornadoes when your storage media is likely to be flung a half-mile away if you get hit.

Tornadoes are actually one of the more mild natural disasters. They are certainly not any more likely to knock out your ISP, whose cables are underground, than any other natural calamity. California's earthquakes pose a much greater threat to infrastructure than Kansas's tornadoes.

And like chucknelson, I lived in KC for years and can't recall a weather-related service disruption for my ISP.


It's quite common in rural mid-MO where I live. Storms (not necessarily tornadoes) and Ice.


Why own a game system?

Ping.

You may have a point with the rest, but response time is a really big deal with many games and a large amount of bandwidth doesn't actually mean a super amazing ping. And actually the speed of light presents ping issues that are meaningful to games so you will never ever be able to just locate computers anywhere and connect to them to play.


The biggest changing factor is not the speed but the fact that it is symmetric. Symmetric internet will change the way we use our home computers. We will be able to create and send content just as much as we consume it. Imagine the future peer to peer networks used for any and everything (in a legal manner of course).


This seems to go back-and-forth and I'm not quite ready to crown the streaming model king just yet. What happens when you have gigabit ethernet and a tablet that can hold 80 days worth of movies? Do you stream them or just download them instantaneously without regard to how much space they consume?


"Do you stream them or just download them instantaneously without regard to how much space they consume?"

"Stream" is a euphemism for "download you are not allowed to keep".

Expect to keep seeing the word "stream" for a while.


I'm aware of what a stream is. Are you familiar with the Netflix, some may call it "rental" model? Apparently they let you "borrow" movies, I'm told for days at a time. Apparently you have to have a continuous internet connection to "stream" which kinda sucks when you have to move from one place to another.


Telepresence for musicians, with zero-lag audio & HD video streams. That's what I want to build.

I detail the idea some here: http://www.fossfactory.org/project/p305


Off topic, but why did you use a 0 (zero) instead of an O for "0r maybe your right..."?


Pshaw. 640K(bps) ought to be enough for anybody.


Google tried to disrupt the cell phone industry by bidding $4 billion on the old TV frequency auction but they were cockblocked by the shitty Bush-era FCC and collusion between ATT and Verizon. Makes you wonder how things would have been different, would Apple have sold the iPhone on the Google network?


So much glorious Schadenfreude at the thought of all the panic meetings at Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon today. And probably a lot of other places as well.

My experinces with all three of those companies have been horrendous. =====================================================================

1. It took a month of weekly calls to get a refund from Comcast for a "modem installation". My apartment already had a modem, they literally installed nothing and charged me $80 for it.

2. It took me four months to realize that I had an overdue AT&T bill. Despite having my phone number (obviously), my email, my credit card info, and my other phone number, they just sent paper snail mail to my summer internship apartment, where of course I no longer lived. I found out four months later when I finally did get a phone call---from a collections agency. The bill had swelled from $90 to $250 by this point.

3. Verizon sent a phone I ordered online to the wrong address. (They skipped the apt number, so the phone was returned to sender.) They then proceeded to refund the phone, but charge me monthly charges for the plan! This, too, took a month of weekly calls.

Every single time I called any of these three companies, I had to sit and listen to elevator music for 3 to 30 minutes. Every individual rep starts over from the beginning, asking you your "first and last name please", as if they had no CRM, no DB, no internal communication whatsover.

It is highly gratifying to see these companies get bitchslapped by the Invisible Hand. They have long deserved it.


"Every single time I called any of these three companies, I had to sit and listen to elevator music for 3 to 30 minutes. Every individual rep starts over from the beginning, asking you your "first and last name please", as if they had no CRM, no DB, no internal communication whatsover."

While this is a valid complaint, I hardly expect Google's "disruption" will result in anything except even _worse_ customer communication. I can just imagine Google expecting people to be perfectly OK with getting billing/service problems resolved on a crowdsourced community forum…


I'd guess that their customer service would take a different, 21st century approach. I'd never call customer support for a gmail or google calendar issue...maybe a similar approach will emerge with these plans


This is my only concern with Google taking the reigns as a ISP. Though perhaps with this they offer additional calling support, I wonder if anyone in Kansas can chime in.


As I recall they were simply outbid - and by a lot.

Refresh your memory:

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iMbsPSv2vatAVvbz_8n0xU3M...

The FCC did everything google wanted, and there was no collusion.

Are we reading the same news articles?


Google wanted to lose that bid - that was a gamble to get free whitespace access and have verizon pay enough money for it. You can read more of the details in this book:http://www.amazon.com/In-The-Plex-Google-Thinks/dp/141659658...

Additionally Google did try to disrupt the cellular companies a little by selling their phones unlocked through their own webstore, but the American market didn't buy them. Yes there really is only one network that gave you a deal if you did this (T-Mobile), but Americans seem to prefer subsidized phones with absurd monthly plans rather than paying for the phone up front and being free to choose the network.


"Prefer" is a stretch. It's not like consumers were presented with a choice between two carriers that were similar in every way except that one went with the subsidized model and the other did not.

The choice consumers had was either a crappy carrier, or one which forced you to go with absurd monthly plans.


I always thought that was a feint to try to get whitespace access.


That's not what happened.

Personally, I think the indicator for a serious bid at disrupting the wireless industry will be when a tech company buys Sprint.


I thought I read that right after they were outbid they showed interest in TV whitespaces and Verizon was pissed. I guess nothing ever came of that.


> My ISP doesn't install software on my computer, ...

Not for lack of trying. I recently helped my friend set up Comcast and part of the installation process included downloading a required suite of "configuration" software. We were able to figure out a way around it but most people probably just click through without a thought.


Tell me about it. I just got a comcast connection a couple of weeks ago and comcast has been, seemingly at random, kicking me into a captive portal that tries to scare you into installing their software.

The worst part is that it only keeps me in the captive portal just short enough that I haven't been compelled to figure out how to make dd-wrt stop it yet. I'll be sitting there putzing around on the Internet, try to google something and hit their portal. A few refreshes later and I'll be back in business.


Maybe it's because I'm always setting up with a home router, but I haven't had to install anything for my last three internet setups. I wasn't even asked to for this last one I believe. The tech just made sure the modem was working properly and he could get a solid connection from it, and then I plugged in my router and was good to go.


I recently upgraded my Fios connection and when the tech replaced my router he asked to install some software. I was currently booted into my Linux partition at the time, so he basically said "oh, well" and everything worked fine out of the box. It's likely bloatware.


Comcast installs a piece of software that drops shortcuts to comcast.net and stuff on your desktop. It also installs whatever antivirus thing they have a contract with. McAfee?

However, they only have Windows and Mac versions of the stuff.


They tried installing that stuff on my computer when I joined too. A simple, nope, not installing any software I haven't actively tried to acquire sufficed.

That or I could just have logged into my freebsd router off the serial port and said have at it, good luck, but that would be mean to the tech.


At least there is some net neutrality for regular ISP's. There is none for carriers, and very soon they will be very aggressive about pushing their own services and charging extra for stuff like Facetime, Skype, etc on top of what you pay for the data you're using. Watch it closely. It will happen.


For the most part I agree, but experience with broadband differs greatly depending on what area you happen to live. Even within the same company like Comcast, broadband in one state can be great and one state over can be horrible.

Cell companies on the other hand are basically crooks. Every other month I get 'services' added to my bill that should only get added if I respond to a spam text. Of course I never respond to the text, but somehow "Fact of the Day" for $9.99/month keeps getting added to my bill no matter how many times I call I tell them I will never subscribe to this so stop letting them attempt to fraud me. After a little research it turns out that the cell company can get 30%-40% of the subscription fees on these bogus services. So, of course they turn a blind eye on what isn't much better than stealing through fraud.


Right. I hope so as well. Maybe they can use that as the wired backend for the white space spectrum, and bypass the cell networks: http://mashable.com/2011/01/28/google-white-space-fcc/


Yes! This is what happened in Japan. The telcos dragged their feet. Dial up Internet was pay per minute and adsl was $60-$90 a month. Yahoo Japan came in and offered adsl 1mbit speed for $20 a month unlimited. That is the moment Internet usage took off In Japan.

The telcos lowered their prices to match. Yahoo doubled the speed for the same price. That continued up to at least 8mbit speed for $20 month

Similar things need to happen here


Same thing happened in France with Free.


The 0$ offer reminds me of Free too. I wonder if they could be partners to deploy fiber access in France.


I get my internet for under $10 a month for 14Mb (in UK). Paying that little I dont mind providing my own ipv6 tunnel and using google name servers. I used to pay for service instead, but cheap works too.

I might switch back to service if it cost less than $50 per month, but I dont really need support for adsl.


Be careful what you wish for. I'm dubious of getting any kind of service from a company known for not having any kind of customer service whatsoever.


I actually have some experience with GoogCustSvc now.

I bought a Nexus 7. It has touch-screen problems. They provided a way to contact them here (http://support.google.com/nexus/bin/request.py?contact_type=...).

I talked to the rep (after waiting about 30 minutes). They were helpful, direct, competent, and provided a way for me to contact the person I talked to via e-mail after the call was ended.

They organized a replacement device and even worked through the fact that I'd purchased the tablet from my brother-in-law.

If their future customer service offerings are the same as what I experienced last night, I have no concerns.


Me too - exact same issue, and the same experience; apart from the hold time the support people I spoke with were polite and helpful, and the second person resolved the problem with my original RMA request over the phone. Turned out I gave the first person the wrong serial number (there are two with very similar acronyms, marked SSN & CSSN). They got a replacement device to my desk within 24 hours once they had the correct number.


For me they charged the wrong card for my Nexus 7, and I wrote them to see about fixing that.

Exactly 10 days later I received an email about american express cards being declined, and that I should now be good to go.

Google is great, just not when it comes to human beings helping you.


TelCo call centers are universally useless. Google could have a phone number you call and a robot on the other end that informs you of service disruptions and tells you to turn it off and turn it on again, and they would have better service than most ISPs.


Maybe it's different in the States, but my experiences with Shaw/Rogers have been universally positive on the tech support front. 24/7 call center, and either the problem is fixed then and there, or there's someone out to replace the modem the next day. Hell, I even had one of them walk me through cloning my MAC address to force a new IP when I got banned from 4chan back in the day.


My local TelCo, despite being shitty, plays a recorded message everytime there are specific issues affecting the area.


most telcos do that. the problem is usually that they are too vague to be of any use. i've called telus before and gotten the message "we are currently experiencing service intteruptions in some areas". thanks guys, that helps.


I get a message like that from Time Warner. I love it, because it always says, "A service disruption has been reported in the Los Angeles area. Service is expected to be restored by 8pm." Classic.


Google Fiber has customer service by phone. The phone number is visible at https://fiber.google.com/help/


Um... I've called google tech support numerous times (for google apps, and google adwords) and had great experiences. I'd be ecstatic if my ISP gave me the same level of support.


That's directly contrary to everything I'd ever heard about Google before. Interesting, maybe they've learned their lesson.


Having used Google customer service as a paying customer I have never had an issue. Customer service on their free offerings is another story all together but what do you expect on that end anyways?


Though to be honest - how good is ComCraptic at service? At least when Google has bugs they're solved quickly.


Last night my Comcast cable tv set top box started telling me it was unauthorized. I went through their phone tree twice (they simply booted me the first time ... Telling me to hang up an call again WTF?). I finally talk to a human -- nice and seems competent -- and he can't find any evidence of my having a set top box. Eventually he says that maybe the relevant system is down, try to call again in the morning. Fine, not his fault. But before I hang up he reads out a recorded item about how they are there ready to support me 24/7.

Oh and I love how I have to enter the same phone number twice AND give it to the human ... "For security purposes."


Anything is better than the rubbish we currently get from Comcast...


Not very long ago, I'd to wait for ~30 minutes in a line that stretched out to the street at my local Comcast office to, wait for this, exchange the set top box for one that had HDMI out! For such privileges, and cable and internet, I pay over $100 a month.


What are we comparing the customer service to though? For ISPs google cannot do worse, it's impossible. I've used Verizon, AT&T, Charter, Time Warner and they all have terrible customer service, and I am understating it.


I don't mind having no call centers to call as long as the service works better and the network is smart. Currently, you are having to use a phone to verbally tell the telco where the problems are on the network they run, which is insane.


You will be on a phone one way or another when the internet is down.


Yes, but I would rather not spend all of that listening to fur-elise for the umpteenth time while getting lost in the arcane submenus of a corporate telephone system, all the while being told how valued I am as a customer by a repeating disembodied voice.


Really?

You might change your mind when you consider that Bell Labs (part of the "Soviet Bureau" you despise) created:

- The transistor - The laser - The C language - The Unix operating system

Other notable discoveries (but not of concern to those who discount anything not Internet-related) are things like the cosmic background radiation, etc. etc. etc.

SO: as much as I hate to defend "the telcos" (wired/wireless/cable) which according to the OP are completely interchangable and not at all distinguishable, they had their good points.

What you're (probably) pissed about is the business model that (most) telcos are forced to follow since deregulation.

Consider this: since deregulation, the cost to deliver bandwidth has dropped so significantly that it's actually CHEAPER to build a "telco" now than it was just 10 years ago. Once you factor in the cost to build out fiber links and light those with equipment, you get more bandwidth today than your earlier competitors got.

Hey, there's still a few dialup providers around. Maybe you think thats a better option?


You're leaving out a very key point: because of an antitrust case against AT&T, they were forbidden from turning their non-telephone technology into proprietary products. In other words, they were essentially conducting research for the public interest at no real cost to the public.

That's very different from any definition of a 'monopoly' that I'm aware of, and very different from modern network providers.

Many factors were essential to Unix's success, but the fact that it was anything but a monopolized product is certainly one of them.


No cost to the public? Instead of doing research they could have provided better support (or perhaps lower prices) to their actual customers.


Would it have been better ? I'll prefer a company that produces massive advances like these to one that would just provide better service or lower costs for some customers at some point in time.

We had some big advances in France too, when telcos sold telephone for stratospheric prices. Now they still charge too much, but just use their cartel agreements to get more revenue. I know which one I prefer.

Full disclosure : i'm from Europe, so not a real capitalist.


>they could have provided better support (or perhaps lower prices) to their actual customers //

You can level this at any company making a profit. Are you happy with companies making profit? [If so] Well then why not companies using what would be profits on beneficial research.


I guess the problem here is that they are under no legal framework, for what they do with their profits.

ISPs these days I'd have thought would actually be classed as a utility company. Many local governments - even the police are using the Internet for information dissemination. So we are reliant upon it. For me it's a natural replacement, it sure beats wasting reems of paper.

In some ways utility companies should be under tougher regulation. I'd prefer them to be non-profits. But you have to incentivise prospective investors some way. Perhaps social enterprises could fill this space? Profits could be capped at lower levels and positive reinvestment enforced. Quite how though? I am sure money could easily be hemorrhaged through R & D departments, maybe it should go in a general state sponsored science money pot.


Was Ma Bell's support actually bad?

The current company called AT&T obviously has appalling support, but I'm not old enough to have dealt with its previous incarnation.


My grandmother had a phone that she was renting for decades. That phone cost thousands of dollars by the time my mom explained to her that she was allowed to replace it with a purchased phone. AT&T forced people to get their phones from AT&T for decades, until regulation forced them to stop that practice, and even after that they continued to bill people for those phones...often older folks who didn't understand their bills or their rights. That's not poor support, that's evil. Of course, AT&T had a state-sponsored monopoly, so it wasn't all their fault...something about state+corporate cooperation makes everybody involved behave in the worst possible way.


Well those innovations were all thanks to AT&Ts monopoly status where they didn't have to worry about quarterly reports: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/26/opinion/sunday/innovation-...

Also Unix was a rogue project because Bell Labs didn't want to fund an OS project after a previous one failed: http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/software/the-strange-birt...


More importantly, it was before the 1980s.


Yes, there is a time and a place for everything: monopolistic telcos did society good in the past. But now is not the time for a lack of competition / oligopoly in the telecommunications industry.


Where did you get the idea I was suggesting that we go backwards?

All I'm saying is that things haven't gotten worse. In fact, they've gotten MUCH BETTER.

Just because the OP hasn't EVER been satisfied with a telco isn't any reason to discount all the good that they do or the progress that's been made.

Some folks forget that cellular companies in the US were fighting an uphill battle against the telcos for a while. The compromise was for an "A" carrier (telco) and a "B" carrier (non-telco). So competition was built into the program for telecom modernization from the start.

Back then, a mobile phone cost $300-$800, service cost $30/month and included no free minutes (priced at $.10-.25) each. It didn't matter which provider you chose because that's what it cost to build the network in a greenfield environment.

And here is the rub: the OP can have almost ANY kind of service he wants. Don't like the incumbent? There are any number of CLECs that will lease you a fiber pair directly to the local colo for 20 years. PROBLEM SOLVED.


>You might change your mind when you consider that Bell Labs (part of the "Soviet Bureau" you despise) created

Just because bell labs was owned by a telco, doesn't mean they were a telco. A research organization existing under the ownership of a telco company doesn't make telcos provide good service, or have fair prices, or have good customer service.


"Just because bell labs was owned by a telco"

They were able to do that because they were a public utility with guaranteed profits. The stock and earnings were stable ("widow and orphan" money was an expression for people who needed these safe investments). Something important to keep in mind. Really not possible to do that in today's competitive disruptive environment.


Yeah, I completely agree, it's just obviously not possible for companies to do research anymore. Anyone who doesn't see this - I just don't understand how you can fail to.


> obviously not possible for companies to do research anymore

Er, does Google nor do research? apple? IBM? Samsung? My dad worked for a railroad. They did R&D...


I was being sarcastic. I was parroting what I was seeing in the comments of a different story at the time.

I would not be surprised if the 3 net upvotes I got were due to people not appreciating the sarcasm and just being stupid.


IBM isn't a public utility with guaranteed profits, but they do a fair amount of both fundamental and applied research.


IBM has one of the most extensive patent portfolios known to man.

Whatever basic research they do, it's definitely in pursuit of digits for the bottom line.


By the way, MSR was created as an active attempt to recreate an analogue to Bell Labs. It certainly doesn't have anything as foundational to show for it as transistors or lasers, but it's certainly possible for today's big tech companies to do the same kind of work.


You cannot prove that those things would not have come about without Bell Labs. Seeing as Google is doing this, Mozilla is building "Rust", and HP created a memristor, I'm pretty sure a similar list of inventions (transistor, laser, C language, UNIX) would have come out without Bell Labs.


> contemptible customer support

Because Google will be so much better? Look, I hate telcos just like the next guy, but the suckage is mostly due to the nature of the business. They form natural monopolies and that sort of thing doesn't lead to customer satisfaction. The only way that sector is going to get truly disrupted is through gigabit wireless internet. You can have multiple competitors in one space with comparatively limited infrastructure investment on their part.

That free tier? That is outright illegal and its sole purpose is to eradicate all competition. It' a good thing for Google that sort of thing isn't really enforced anymore. They'll still get sued though. Look up price bashing.

Once Google is the only player in town, you still think they'll shit lilacs and spread rainbows and unicorns? That's just not how monopolies work.


"That free tier? That is outright illegal and its sole purpose is to eradicate all competition."

No - the purpose is to increase people willing to pay for installations in a given neighborhood so they can go ahead and roll out service to more people.


It's kind of ridiculous to talk about "natural monopolies" when often it is a government-mandated monopoly via cable franchise agreements.

It's also ridiculous to talk about predatory pricing when historically all major telecom infrastructure has been government subsidized.

The major ISPs are all capable of competing in this market (Comcast and Time Warner Cable both have had profits growing at rates many times higher than that of revenues this year. AT&T has as well, but I couldn't find a split for just their ISP numbers), and disruption is exactly what will help them start doing so.


Those franchise agreements aren't a something-for-nothing type of arrangement.

In exchange for a franchise, a telco has to guarantee coverage to a certain area and give up other things called "proffers." That usually includes things like public access channels and money/bandwidth for schools/libraries.

In Northern Virginia, Cox Cable has to provide FREE public access INTERNET which includes colocation of a server.

Consider also that building a network isn't cheap and franchise agreements are a way for a city to get a service that wouldn't otherwise arrive without some guarantee of a market.


"That free tier? That is outright illegal and its sole purpose is to eradicate all competition."

Why don't we sue Google for providing free WiFi in Mountain View? And Google Fiber isn't free - its $300 to cover the equipment costs. I'm pretty that 12 months of basic DSL for less than $300 anyway, installation included. Some neighbors will "freely" share their internet, should incumbent cable co sue them aswell for unfair competition?

What is to stop a cable co "recycling" old equipment to provide basic freemium internet to people who don't want to pay more for premimum plans.

The unfairness of having all that equipment already owned and built out... somebody stop them... oh wait what is Google doing?


Yeah, I wouldn't consider $300 up front "free". It's an amortized price, similar to XM Radio's $400 lifetime subscription fee. Frankly, I'd like to see more amortized pricing like this.


I'm cynical about this kind of pricing. Once you've paid up, in the companies' books you're in the minus column until the end of time. Incentives are no longer aligned. Combine this with the way that telcos treat regular paying customers ... I wouldn't like to put myself in that position, even with a company that tries to be aggressively benevolent.


Just about every single person who uses the internet in any way is in Google's positive column. They might not be a positive for the Fiber division alone, but given where the vast majority of Google's income comes from, Fiber will have a lot of pressure to keep customers happy.


Google provides free WiFi in Mountain View? I didn't know that. I worked at multiple buildings on Salado Dr. and a year at Marine Wy. I get no signal if I park across the street.


It's only in the downtown core, and you have to sign in to a Google Account (and agree to god-knows-what in the way of tracking of your use.)


It's funny, because in my (shitty) country, we have a "communications industry regulator" that basically does only this: sue people who give free internet.

Well I get 30Mbps for less than 40€/month, so I can't complain I guess...


I pay $50 Canadian per month for a 2.1 Mbps connection :(


Canadian telcos seem to be universally worse than their US brethren, as they appear to be aided and abetted by a corrupt CRTC (Canadian FCC). Witness the CRTCs approval of bandwidth caps in order to delay/prevent users from moving to internet-only plans and using Netflix for their entertainment. [http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/11/15/crtc-ubb-ruling_n_10...]


I'm fortunate to be using a Teksavvy connection with no caps. However, they're still running on Videotron's equipment, meaning I'm still paying Videotron-like prices for cable internet. Teksavvy's Ontario rates appear to be cheaper for exactly the same speed tier.

Overall, the CRTC is less interested in competition, and much more interested in serving the interest of the established telcos (Rogers, Bell, etc). They seem especially afraid of foreign competition; witness what happened initially with Wind Mobile's efforts to break into the market.


I'm using Teksavvy as well, but they're using Bell's ADSL on a really noisy line. I can't get cable from Teksavvy in my building.


Another vote here for Teksavvy. They would be better if unhindered by the CRTC and other telcos, but I'd rather give my money to them than to the telcos both out of principle and because the service is better.


You know, I've never had trouble with Google customer support. I've contacted them twice: once for a Google Maps issue and again because I couldn't access my account. No problems for me. I find these kinds of complaints strange. Most of the time I hear this complaint the person doing the complaining hadn't ever even tried to contact Google; they just read that it was a problem somewhere. Oh, I will admit they don't make finding the contact information easy but with the number of users barely able to order a happy meal without calling 911 when their fries aren't right who would want to make it easy?


Plain and simple: Google makes money if people use the internet. Anything that increases the number of times someone views a website makes google money.

It's like a billboard company offering to add free windows to your house so you watch their ads from your living room.

I agree with the motivation of your post. Monopolies are bad and customers have a vested interest in preventing google (or anyone else) from having monopolistic control of consumer internet. Unfortunately this is already true in many parts of the United States (Comcast is the only game in town where I live). At least in the short term Google entering this market should reduce monopolies not create them.


I'm pretty sure it's not illegal to pay up front for service. Note that the "free" tier is either $25/month or $300 up-front. I never heard anyone accuse e.g. TIVO's lifetime service of being illegal, or any other such pricing scheme.


> Once Google is the only player in town, you still think they'll shit lilacs and spread rainbows and unicorns?

Actually, yes, because unlike most telcos, this isn't Google's core business. The only reason it exists is to drive people towards their core business. They have a wider, longer-term view of their business goals.


> You can have multiple competitors in one space with comparatively limited infrastructure investment on their part.

Spectrum and tower licensing is off the hook, and it's unlikely that more than a handful of companies will have the business acumen, capital, and regulatory skill to build up a network of significance. Any 'gigabit wireless' scheme will likely look the same it does today: a handful of key players with reciprocal data roaming agreements, and a few MVNOs which piggyback off the big guys. Wireless infrastructure is so expensive that carriers don't even have full coverage: they share. You're not always on 'Verizon's network,' sometimes you're on Sprint's network shared to Verizon. For CDMA, these are sent to the phone via PRL lists[1].

The MVNO scheme happens in DSL where it is called a CLEC[2], where the local telco is required by law[3] to allow other companies to lease its lines. This is how companies like Sonic.net exist. If I understand correctly, the same forced-lease agreement is not in place with cable, which is why people are talking about a 'cable monopoly' here. There is no such thing as Sonic.net for cable, and DSL is physically limited to about 20down/1up. Thus, there is no competitive high-bandwidth pipe to the home until fiber comes into play. Note that DOCSIS3 can easily push 300Mbps down 100Mbps up[4]. You already have this capability if you have cable, it's simply not turned on. If you were a cable company, why would you?

"In the UK, broadband provider Virgin Media announced on 20 April 2011 an intention to start trials with download speeds of 1.5 Gbit/s and upload of 150 Mbit/s based on DOCSIS3.0.[4]" <---- this is with literally the same kind of coax and modem in your home right now.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preferred_Roaming_List

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competitive_local_exchange_carr...

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications_Act_of_1996

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DOCSIS


I'm getting 60+ Mbps down and 20 up on my DSL line. With vectoring it could go to 120 down. It is VDSL not ADSL, but still over copper pair - significantly more than 20 down.


I thought with more vectoring your latency continues to jump?

Who is your provider? I don't recall anyone advertising that kind of speed on a real ADSL or VDSL line. You must be sitting on top of the local DSL drop either way to get that kind of transmission speeds.

All I know is that I tried U-Verse (which is a VDSL product) and they couldn't consistently even keep me at 19.2, from which TV has to come out of that as well. I'm not even that far from the "central office" drop either.


"Any 'gigabit wireless' scheme will likely look the same it does today: a handful of key players with reciprocal data roaming agreements, and a few MVNOs which piggyback off the big guys. Wireless infrastructure is so expensive that carriers don't even have full coverage: ... "

Ubiquiti, among other vendors, now sells various flavors of cheap ($50-$100US) 802.11n and now 802.11ac radios that purport 100Mbit/s of actual throughput. I use slightly older versions of these radios outdoors, and can verify 40Mbit/s throughput on point-to-point links spanning a mile or so.

Furthermore, Ubiquiti has also just rolled out 20GHz unlicensed radios with expected 700Mbit/s throughput on p2p links, costing $3k per link, a price which will likely go down as time passes.

The wireless hardware does not have to use a licensed band.


You're making a few assumptions there that I wasn't making. Just because it's wireless, I don't have any expectations of using it outside of my home.

I could technically run my own ISP in my apartment building by hooking up a router to a cable connection and charging a minimal fee for access. In fact, I'm sure quite a few people are already doing that. It would just be a problem if the cable company found out and terminated the account. If I were to get a business level connection that doesn't have those sorts of restrictions, there would be very little to stop me from running my own ISP. Well, except the government and the local corruption racket.


The free tier? That's $300 up front. I expect some of that $300 defrays their ongoing marginal costs. See also sibling comments by eavc and EthanHeilman.

           Free Internet
              $0/mo
      $300 construction fee
  (one time or $25/mo for 12 mo)


From what I've read, FTTH installation costs over $700 per house so $300 doesn't sound like it's defraying much.


40% the cost is hardly nothing, and it's quite possible Google has arranged for lower costs. Also, the fiber stays even after the current owners leave, so Google might just want ubiquity and be willing to take a small hit to get it.


FTTH install cost is entirely dependent on the territory.

Overhead vs underground, apartment buildings vs. single family homes, number of directional bores (to get under streets), miles of sidewalk torn up to lay cable, etc. etc.

It's expensive and how expensive all depends on the neighborhood.

Consider this: you can't do $700 to just one home. That's the AVERAGE cost once you've decided to do a neighborhood. You sometimes need to do those homes 1000 at a time. SO: network build >= $700K minimum.


Which Google makes in... about ten minutes (according to 2011 revenue of ~$38B). That's a rounding error if I've ever seen one, never mind the future revenue it will bring them: some customers will be a straight $300, the rest will be $70-120/m recurring on the fiber service alone, plus the added use of their services bringing in advertising dollars, etc.


Heh. Well you've obviously got it all figured out.

Just keep this in mind: running a telecom network that requires lots of field personnel isn't something that GOOG has a proven capability in. For their money, their BEST bet would have been to BUY a cable company for the network. They get all of the customers in one fell swoop along with a network that can be upgraded to FTTH or low-split HFC.

One city doesn't a telecom company make. I would be VERY surprised if the monthly ad revenue pulled in by a broadband subscriber will cover the lifetime customer acquisition cost.


According to Gigaom the $300 more than fully covers the installation cost...

http://gigaom.com/2012/07/26/the-economics-of-google-fiber-a...


Exactly why is it outright illegal? I guess Google can make a fair argument that the added exposure to google ads will pay for the running costs of the connection.


I looked up price bashing (using Google, haha) and didn't get satisfactory results. Can you provide a link that gives a good explanation?


Wow. I couldn't find anything either. Then again, I first learned about it in an economics book in the 90s ... and I think that book was from the 70s.

Price bashing is when a competitor lowers prices to the point where they are losing money on the transaction. The desired effect is to destroy the competition and once the competition is eliminated, to raise prices to an artificially high level as a monopolist.

EDIT: Found it - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predatory_pricing


There is little empirical support that predatory pricing happens. The criticism section of the Wikipedia article makes some strong arguments in this vein. The support section contains 3 "citation needed"'s.


>Then again, I first learned about it in an economics book in the 90s ... and I think that book was from the 70s.

Well that explains why you have such an average grasp of the concept.



They are not doing much of a job of disrupting the tv part of the deal. $120/mo with Comcast gets you the same channels, Internet, dvr, and telephone service with no contract. They also have customer service. When you call Comcast about a service outage, they prorate it every single time.

The real disruption here is free Internet. And for that I tip my hat to google.

Disruption to cable would be a la carte channel selection in any market.


No, the real disruption here is speeds 50x faster without any caps. There is no comparison with Comcast, but their fast package of 105/10 Mbps is $199.95 a month. Yes, 10 megabits of upload... They have a limited available tier of 305/65 Mbps (FWIW this plan is a day old and probably to fight FiOS Quantum, it used to be 50Mbps) which runs $299.95.

http://www.comcast.com/internet-service.html

tl;dr Comcast is a joke.


Another point of difference is that Google's $120 plan comes with a free Nexus 7 and 2TB of storage.


The idea is that TV is "obsolete" because of the Internet (see Hulu, Netflix, etc).


In business school I read a study showing that for a few industries (telcos & utilities among them) there is an inverse relationship between customer satisfaction and profitability.


Google's currently doing the best job of anyone of disrupting the cell phone industry. I have a $350 unlocked, contract free handset that's near the best you can get right now and I can run it on any pay as you go plan (like a $45/mo Straight Talk plan).


I have experienced everything you said as true in most places where I have lived. But I did also live in a place where Time Warner, Verizon and Comcast all competed with each other. And guess what? Service was great and prices were low!

Yes, thank God Google is entering some markets, but we wouldn't need Google if only local governments had not succumbed to lobbying to kill competition.


You were very, very lucky. If I remember correctly, fewer than 20% of the US population has more than one option for their cable provider.

I'm moving into a new apartment (in NYC) and the only 'choice' I have is how much I want to pay Time Warner for what's likely the same speed.


I suppose Google is not an exception, and we will eventually start to hate Google too.

I hope that doesn't happen of course.


That really depends - as you know Google's motto is "don't be evil". And it is apparent that the other american telcos don't share this motto.

If Google manages to stay not evil it is the only way they will be relevant in the future. I think it is possible, and it's the only way to survive competition.


Yeah google has a nice motto.


It's the worst company motto of all time!

They seemingly can't make any pro-company decision without being accused of consorting with the Devil.

In contrast everyone knows Apple just cares about Apple. Whenever they do something evil, it just gets labelled as "Oh, that's just Apple being Apple".


It's an awesome motto that's served them extremely well. Google's ability to frame themselves as the "good guys" is the only real marketing advantage they have.


So it's their "motto advantage" that attracts everyone in using their services? I guess giving their services away for free doesn't count for anything?


I wouldn't include their pricing structure as part of their marketing, though it doubtless attracts many users. (So do their algorithms, but those aren't included in their marketing, either.) And insofar as they have a reputation for giving away their services for free, that's a part of their heroic image.


I think Apple may end up eventually paying for their treachery.


Somehow I don't think they're feeling it...

It saw them from near-death to the worlds most valuable company - where one of their biggest problems now is what to do with their $115B in the bank.


I'm pretty happy with my telco. They are owned by the customers, so everything they do has to be with the customer in mind. It is kind of funny when people in the big cities are still practically lucky to have dialup access while here they have fiber installed into farmhouses.


> There is not a single other industry I can say that about, certainly not one that comes to mind so quickly.

Airlines?

> contemptible customer support

IMHO better than Google's dogmatic avoidance of any kind of customer support.


> "Airlines?"

Heh. Flying is a terrible experience because what most people pay for is the transportation equivalent of a Wal-Mart jar of pickles.

The price of flying, especially as a proportion of income, has tanked since the golden age we all yearn for. There's a reason airlines no longer serve meals, give out free pillows, and are still going bankrupt every few years - the margins are razor thin and the competition is extreme.

It's the same reason why they no longer hand out hotel rooms like candy, or why there are more cascading delays (hint: keeping spare planes and crews on standby is really, really expensive).

If you paid as much now as you did for the same flight in the 70s, you'd still get the very same service.


> If you paid as much now as you did for the same flight in the 70s, you'd still get the very same service.

I believe they call it first-class now. I had the opportunity to purchase a first class upgrade (first time not flying economy) on an Alaska flight from Seattle to Oakland, and the service difference between the coach experience just two days prior was insane.

There was no meal in coach (flying during breakfast), and the attendants came around once for drinks and once for trash. They were polite, but didn't make much small talk because they were pretty busy.

In first class, there was a complementary meal served on a ceramic plate with metal silverware (this flight was well after dinner), and a variety of complementary alcoholic drinks were offered as well. The attendants called you by your name (they verified the name from the flight manifest was correct the first time they came around), and they made small talk about your trip.


i've flown international business class on luxury airlines twice (once on singapore on the company dime, and once on qatar through a random complimentary upgrade). the service is just staggering--never mind the full-flat bed-seats, the unlimited free liquor, the gourmet food, or the entertainment center with a full array of power outlets and usb and video ports so i could run any device and content i wanted, what really impressed me was the rose in a vase on my table when i boarded, and the pajamas in the care package (with the slippers and eyemask and so on).

i'm splurging and flying "premium coach" (or w/e the hell they call it on Virgin) on my next vacation; we'll see how it compares....


Funny thing most Americans don't know is that international coach is really decent too. E.g. I've never been on an intercontinental flight without unlimited free alcohol aside from on Delta, and any plane put together in the past few years will have USB/power sockets in every seat.


for someone who'd never flown anything other than coach, the experience was mindblowing, especially since the upgrade was only $50 at the airport.

i'd love to fly first or business again when i eventually go to europe, but as a hypothetical exercise i checked prices, and a firstclass roundtrip tickect is roughly $20k and business, though much better, is still $6k (i just checked lufthansa.com for sfo<->fra leaving august 4 and returning sep 1, so i'm sure better deals exist). If I flew coach, the whole vacation could be $6k.


Airline bankruptcy is a normal business activity, akin to an occasional server refresh in the data center.. It doesn't disrupt the overall airline industry, and it's not a catastrophe to a bankrupt airline.

http://philip.greenspun.com/flying/unions-and-airlines


I read that Warren Buffet said he has a full-time employee whose job it is to stop him from buying any airlines.

Probably one of his pithy quotes, but funny all the same.


> IMHO better than Google's dogmatic avoidance of any kind of customer support. - Someone whose never actually used Google's customer support

I've never had a problem with Google's customer support. One time I had an issue with a 'Books' purchase and it was pretty easy to get through to customer support and speak to an actual person, issue was fixed straight away. 'Dogmatic avoidance of any kind of customer support' is just plain wrong.


I've had nothing but positive experiences on JetBlue


For me, it's not the airlines themselves most of the time, but the airports & governments and the requirements they force on airlines.

The airports & government bureaucracy take something that should just be a catching a greyhound within 10 minutes of boarding into a 2-4 hour stressful nightmare.


you ever see American Graffiti? one thing that really stuck with me was the bit at the end where they're boarding a plane--it was just walk out onto the runway, present your ticket and walk up the stairs.

to do that nowadays you have to be flying private....


Which requirements are you talking about, specifically?


Airlines enforce minimum check-in times of 1.5 hrs before domestic flights and around 2.5hrs for international flights. With international flights, they love to have you wait in line to check in and get your ticket with an actual person. They won't let you print off your ticket online, or when you purchase it half the time with international flights.

They do this because they know that people can be stuck for 30-60 minutes in a security line and customs & immigration on both sides add another layer of BS.

It turns 4 hours of round trip airtime into 8-10 hours of round trip travel time, starting from when you enter the airport. On top of that you have the stress of missing your flight because of this BS.


Here's what I would suggest: Part with $400-500 to join your airline's airport lounge/club for a year. The saved time and stress vastly outweighs the cost if you fly more than five or six times a year--if you fly that much it's usually worthwhile to try to stick with a single airline anyway for the frequent flier miles and the perks they hand out to those with "Elite" status (or whatever your airline calls it). If you fly less often it makes more sense to just buy day passes.

Most clubs have showers, free wifi, numerous power outlets, free snacks and adult beverages and, most importantly, a quiet place to relax before your flight (and none of those annoying "The TSA has recently blah blah blah blah" announcements over the PA). Many airlines offer reciprocal benefits with other airlines' lounges (for example, when flying on Alaska, you can use the Boardroom at an airport without an Admiral's Club).

Earlier this week I had to catch a flight departing at 6:15am. Instead of waking up at 3am, I spent my mandatory pre-flight airport time taking a shower (shampoo, soap, a razor and, of course, clean towels complements of the lounge), eating breakfast (free coffee, muffins and an apple) and catching up on email.


"(and none of those annoying "The TSA has recently blah blah blah blah" announcements over the PA)"

Even in the midst of his panic, Winston was too much taken aback to be able to hold his tongue.

'You can turn it off!' he said.

'Yes,' said O'Brien, 'we can turn it off. We have that privilege.'


Meh, once I'm in the airport and have a ticket it's pleasant enough, it's the fact I have to block out so much time in the first place. Get off work early, etc. The only advantage I see are showers & toiletries to a lounge, I'll still have to be there x hours early and any food & wifi benefits I can just pay for myself. Even Tim Ferriss has given in and just arrives 5 hours early and hangs out vs dealing with airport bs. I doubt he would be like that if it was like catching a grayhound. I actually have 2 free lounge passes with united.


> Airlines enforce minimum check-in times of 1.5 hrs

Holy shit that is insane! Here in Australia I just get there 20 mins before take-off and pretty much walk straight onto the plane. They xray my hand-luggage and I walk through a metal detector on the way but that never takes more than a couple of minutes.


The budget airlines in Aus require you to be there 30 minutes before take-off. I've missed a flight because of this; I was about five minutes late. I got on the next flight but the T&C clearly state they have no obligation to make it up in any way.


EVERYONE (not just budget airlines) wants you there 30 minutes before take-off - more if there's checked luggage involved. It takes 20 minutes to board, so it's fairly reasonable to have 10 minutes for getting through security and walking to your gate.

The only time where you might get away with arriving 20 minutes before take-off is if there's no security line and your gate's right near the entry to the departures lounge.


Still much better than 90 minutes!


What kind of airport are you at? At a small domestic airport I fly to frequently, they still 'enforce' 1 hr checkins for international, but security & line ups are 3 minutes, they're nice, and you don't have walk around much.


Probably mostly around security. For instance, when I take the train to get to work and back, I can hop on the second before it leaves. And they don't check anything except for tickets, which doesn't start until after the train is already on the way. It's a bit different than taking a flight, even though there is often more people on the train I take than most flights I've been on.


Why has this guy been down-voted? This has happened to me in the past, complain about lack of customer support from google, get down-voted with no responses.


Seriously. In my current location I am stuck with a 5mb connection because I'm at the edge of my DSL provider's range and the only cable option in the entire city is Charter (who has truly horrifying customer service AND awful reliability). A friend of mine in town has had to call Charter tech support many many times because of issues he has with their service. I think my entire city would abandon Charter if google dropped fiber here.


I'm mostly pleased with my current ISP. 60Mbps for £30/month.

Downsides are stupid search page instead of NXDOMAIN, adherence to UK court orders and potential surveillance.


Now, the purchase of motorola makes sense after all.


How is this a disruption? Seems to me that they are building out their own fiber optic network to go toe-to-toe with the best-in-class internet/cable products on the market at a price point that doesn't really seem any better.


>at a price point that doesn't really seem any better.

$70/mo for gigabit speeds and a terabyte of cloud storage and a wifi router? Or a one time installation fee for free internet comparable to what people are paying $50/mo for now?

Can you direct me to the pricing for the companies that are doing anything close to this? Really, I'd love to see it. Currently, the only thing comparable is Verizon FiOS at 300mbs for over $200/mo. http://www.digitaltrends.com/web/google-fiber-launches-in-ka...

This is the very definition of disruption.


"This is the very definition of disruption."

Is that a fact? My interpretation of the Christensen version of disruption (which I'm told is pretty much official since he wrote the book on it- literally) is when a company offers a minimal version of a product, usually much cheaper than those offered by the incumbents that are better than those offerings only on one or two dimensions. Usually these are things like consuming less power or simply costing less. Eventually these products become good enough on the other dimensions while maintaining the original value proposition that they "disrupt" the incumbents from the bottom. This is why the book is about things like hard drives, steam shovels, cell phone cameras, and minimills.

You might want to double-check next time before making such a bold statement. It seems here that you are declaring the definition of a term without having even a tenuous understanding of what it is.

Clearly attacking the market with a superior product at a price point that is more expensive than what you can currently buy is not a disruption. Offering a better product than what's currently available isn't disruption, it's innovation.


>Is that a fact? My interpretation of the Christensen version of disruption (which I'm told is pretty much official since he wrote the book on it- literally)

His definition of disruptive technologies actually appeared first in his article: Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave. The book you are thinking of is 'The Innovator's Dilemma' in which he expounds further on the topic he introduced in Catching the Wave.

At any rate:

>Disruptive technology typically improves in a way that by being lower priced and designed for various disciplines of consumers. [2] Instead of allowing consumers with lots of money or lots of skills to use it, disruptive technology is designed in which allow “whole new population of consumers” to use it, access its services. [3]

I'd say that Google's service falls squarely within this definition. Not only to a 't' on the pricing end, but the packaged technologies certainly opens up a 'whole new population of consumers' to using it based on attributes besides cost. They are packaging wifi distribution and cloud storage together, along with mega-high throughput on the data speed end. They are taking this directly to a whole new population of consumers (the general consumer market). This market did not affordable access to this technology previously.


When I was at Georgia Tech, I got 650 Mbps. You realize the bottleneck isn't your connection at that point -- it's everyone else's. Which means a lot of sites still download just as slow. Although the big sites have optimized data centers, so it was pretty cool downloading an entire OS in a few seconds (although I think my hard drive write speed limited that a bit too).

My father works in the fiber optics industry and has told me that if fiber was brought directly to each home, every person would have more bandwidth than they knew what to do with. One thin, tiny fiber can carry an INSANE amount of information. The problem is the processing circuitry that converts these light signals into digital signals. These NICs have a much lower throughput than the fiber itself, but if the fiber infrastructure was already in place everywhere, upgrades would be much cheaper and quicker. (In other words, Google Fiber has easy upgrade potential to 10, 100, ... Gbps).


> every person would have more bandwidth than they knew what to do with.

I think that is exactly the point. That's why they are doing this; Google doesn't know what exactly will happen when everyone in the USA/world has fiber connections, but they do know that incredible innovation will come. What kind of applications will be built? What kind of applications can be built?

Couple this with the increasing computing power inside each home over the next many years, and Google will have control over an unbelievably fast and large network of computers.

I'd be certain most applications are in the weak-to-strong AI arena.


indeed. The scales of computing technologies have increased by many order of magnitude in their history, and it has never been "enough." Bill Gates infamously demonstrated the danger of predicting how much RAM/Clock speed/Bandwidth/etc. is "enough."

EDIT: fixed a rather wacky typo


* Bill Gates infamously demonstra...*

Let me stop you right there.

http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/1997/01/1484


That's the first I've heard that Gates didn't say the 640k quote. Thank you for the correction.


If you build it, they will come.


Interesting double entendre considering what kind of video a lot of people stream....


Can you give examples you have in mind of AI applications that requires high bandwidth? Something related to vision maybe?


I fear, the surplus bandwidth will be simply wasted, just like the enormous computing power of modern desktop CPUs.


But if you have fiber connecting all of these modern desktop CPUs, people could sell excess computing time to applications that need it.


I think you just clearly stated a problem and a solution in the same comment.


The thing I miss most about my internet connection at GT was the incredibly low latency to most everything. Now, this was circa 2000 or so; but, I remember page loads seeming more like loading files locally the latency was so low.

Google today, for all it's speed an simplicity, is significantly slower to get to search results than Yahoo would load them for me in 2000 on a GT internet connection.


Would Dropbox, Google Drive, Skydrive, Amazon cloud storage, et al exist today if we could send data across the US at even just 650Mbps?


Oh yeah! Think: a harddrive writes at what an average of 75MB/s [1], and 1Gbit internet is 125MB/s [2]. (Note, Google currently advertises 'up to 1Gbit up and down').

This means that dropbox no longer "syncs". It's just another harddrive in terms of how it works. Copies to and from just as quickly as your harddrive.

Heck, it seems like if you installed an application to your dropbox, and ran your computer off of an SSD, it seems like you could enjoy BETTER performance than if you had that program installed on a 7200rpm drive and ran it locally...

Can't wait to see what we end doing with 1GBit ubiquity!

[1] http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/3.5-hard-drive-charts-200...

[2] http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=1Gbit+in+MB%2Fs


First, even if you "installed an application to your dropbox", it would still be running from your local machine - that's just how Dropbox works.

Second, even if it were running the application from Dropbox's server(s) (it seems like that's what you mean?), it would still have to read from their servers - you can't magically eliminate a bottleneck just by moving it to a different physical computer; data still has to be read from disk.


Yes, I messed that up, sorry. But it's still an impressive feat and I'm still very excited about getting 1Gbit internet!


Though a big datacenter seems like the perfect place to spread the bits around so that you can read from multiple physical disks/computers simultaneously to improve performance. This is unlike your laptop where you are probably not carrying multi-disk arrays around with you.


Hm, could you write a client using the Dropbox API wrapped in, say, a FUSE filesystem driver? Just to use the remote storage directly as a filesystem?


Though it could be read from several disks simultaneously / cached to flash/RAM and other neat tricks to improve I/O bandwidth.


I'd be interested to compare the "seek time" though. Platter drive seek times can be pretty nasty, but I'd be interested to see if Dropbox or some competitor could serve up better with network latency involved.


I'd use DropBox much MORE if I had more than 15 Mbit upstream. If I had 1 Gbit+ speeds, I'd use DropBox for EVERYTHING (5+ TB) and happily pay for it. As it stands now the upload would take far too long to be much use.


Housefires happen regardless of internet connection speed, so yes.


yes. They would have to dramatically decrease their bandwidth charges, and they'd have to lower their charges in general (just 'cause the barrier to entry for their competition would be lower) but if anything, having a fat pipe at home would make storing things remotely a lot more attractive.

Think about it; with that kind of a pipe, you could boot your desktop off of a drive in my datacenter, two cities away.


Think about services like OnLive (who even offers Windows in the cloud). We have these today, but if we had fiber everywhere, we likely wouldn't have the dvd drive in the Xbox 360. We certainly wouldn't need BluRay.


You could, but the latency would still suck.


That's why I said "my data centre, two cities away" and not 'my data centre on the other side of the world'


Yes they would. Its the same reason ftp servers, backup servers and NAS would exist no matter how fast the connection speed is. Its about availability, backups and more holistic access control. It would be interesting to see how these services innovate with such high speed connection though.


Yeah, Google's going to have to do a good job telling people their computers and NICs aren't going to cut it. It's amazing when you're limited by your machine instead of the internet!


Who doesn't have a gigabit NIC? They've been standard for years.


Have you ever tried to actually get gigabit speeds from the crap hardware installed in most PCs? Most companies use low end realtek or marvell controllers which may, if your lucky, have a good switch and have jumbo frames enabled get you to ~650-700 Mbps on a single large continuous stream. Performance only goes down from there are multiple connections are dealt with. If you want to take a look for yourself download iperf and see what you can actually put through standard consumer NICs and switches. The only NIC controllers I've seen actually get to true gigabit speeds are from Intel, and you still need a decent switch.


> every person would have more bandwidth than they knew what to do with The same thing was said about floppy disks and RAM in the past. The reality is that the demand expands to fill whatever you have available and still ask for more. Once we have blazing fast speeds like that someone will come up with a crazy idea that will require still more bandwidth and lower latency.


You can go all the way into the terabit range with single fibre, which is also around the same ballpark as what you need for full holographic video.


So we can get a real holo Tupac now? Joy!


Usually when people in Silicon Valley use the word "amazing", I roll my eyes.

But $0 internet is very amazing.

On top of that, $120/mo for cutting edge consumer entertainment is just a slap in the face to other service providers.


$120/mo for cutting edge consumer entertainment is just a slap in the face to other service providers.

I pay $120/mo in New York and get high speed internet, and cable TV with HBO (conspicuously missing from Google's offering) and ESPN. Don't get me wrong, I'd switch to Google in a heartbeat, but I don't actually think that $120 price point is much of a slap in the face to existing providers.

EDIT: and this is just in Kansas City. Given the existing variations in price across the country, I'll be very surprised if we are all paying $120 when (if?) it rolls out nationally.


Its $120/mo for:

* 1Gps Internet

* TV service

* A Nexus 7 tablet

* 2TB 'Storage' that has features that make is sound like a full NAS to me

* 1TB Google Drive (1TB dropbox would run ~$100/mo alone)

Its a bit more than your average TV+Internet package you'd get from a telco.


Did it come with a free Nexus 7? Google's going to decimate the existing cable and DSL offerings in Kansas City in less than a week.


Wait, is this only in Kansas City? How long until everywhere gets it?


Yes, although there are rumblings about other locations. I can tell you that if it does 'decimate' the entrenched carriers they will go thermonuclear as well (so Google ends up opening another front in the legal wars) You can already see some of the tactics where cable companies have convinced legislatures to make it illegal to allow either public funds to be spent on infrastructure or to allow non-contracted third parties into a region.


No way to know. This is a pilot program. Running fiber to the home cost effectively is as much a political challenge as anything else. They're hoping to blow the doors of in KC to then help make things go more smoothly in other cities.


Yes, this is just for Kansas City. Given that it takes a physical build-out, I imagine 'everywhere' getting it is not in the foreseeable future.


Think about that question. They're not leasing lines. They're building them.


How is $70 w/o TV and $120 w/ TV not a slap in the face to other ISPs when it gives you gigabit without data caps?!


Because most customers don't care about gigabit. I'm a tech geek and I don't care about it- my existing speed (around 10mpbs, I think) has rarely posed problems for me.

In any case, $120 in Kansas City is not ever going to translate to $120 in New York City.


This is incorrect. It is why places like T-Mobile run commercials about caps and why there are tons of articles and blogs and Twitter comments about data caps. A lot of people care.


That's all mobile, though (and also wasn't what I was commenting about). My provider (Time Warner Cable) doesn't have any data caps- I know others do, of course.


Well, that depends on your ISP and where you live. I pay $160/month for a higher-tier internet (Blast) and basic cable from Comcast.


I get decent internet, home phone, and sdtv for around $200 here :( Worst part is, I don't think my situation is that uncommon.


In Orlando I'm paying $240 a month to get 40Mbps down / 5 up with a full channel lineup, plus Showtime and NHL Center Ice. So THIS would be a huge deal to people in my area where only one cable option exists in a lot of Central Florida.

Edit: Fixed bandwidth


I wonder how much money Google can make from a single household that is using Google products on the internet? As long as Google makes more money over time than the internet connection costs them, then it could be a very profitable for Google to increase the number of people using Google products and gain great product PR and brand loyalty from these people who get free internet.


"Amazon has found that every 100 ms of latency costs them 1% in sales."

"Google has found that an extra 500 ms in search page generation time made traffic drop by 20%."

http://royal.pingdom.com/2008/09/23/latency-costs-sales-and-...

I don't think Google plans to bring this level of high-speed internet to everyone in the US, but they're certainly trying to spur the competition on.

If people use the internet more, Google makes more money.


Yep, how much monitoring and data collection is Google doing here?

I wouldn't sign up for Google provided internet.


Here's the privacy policy: https://fiber.google.com/legal/privacy.html


So it looks like they know which shows you watch (the same way Netflix does).

Other departments of google don't know which websites you go to, "except with your consent." There can be a lot of mischief hidden in those 4 words.


While this would normally be a concern, I don't think many people trust Comcast or Time Warner any more than Google.


Comcast and TWC don't wrap all their services in a single, trackable userID.


Yeah, If they show me one more ad relevant to my interests, I'm deleting my Google account all together!


Cutting edge is right...

"Record up to eight programs simultaneously, just because you can. And with an unprecedented two terabytes of storage, you will never have to worry about having enough space to record your favorite shows."


And the included remote is a Nexus 7. Sounds almost too good to be true.


I hope they still provide a regular remote of some sort. I don't want to have to unlock a tablet and go to an app to change the channel.


Yup, there's a standard remote with both IR and bluetooth capability. (I work at GFiber.)


Would you do an AMA while it's still fresh in people's minds?


This is very disruptive on both ends, free and $120 per month. Hits the cable providers, telcom providers, and even apple, Netflix, Hulu, and roku where it hurts. Nice work google!

They are still missing a few key channels - CNN, Disney, and espn - all of which my household can't live without (I know, first-world problems). And I think those are some of the harder, more valuable properties to acquire. Anyone know whether google will be able to get those channels?


is $120/mo good? That's more than any other bill I pay except rent.


I had the same feeling, but maybe the Netherlands are just cheap. You can get phone/internet/tv combinations here from €40-70. Although the fastest internet connection you get there is usually 'only' 120Mbit.


It's comparable to the price of the usual "Triple Play" Internet+cable+phone service offers from cable companies and telcos.


It still sounds outrageously expensive to me. In Portugal the cheapest fiber triple-play plans cost $40 a month.


I probably should have clarified that it's competitive to those packages offered in the USA. We're used to getting gouged by our telcos here in the Land of the Free :D


Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: