Thursday, February 16, 2017

Google Fiber

We thought Google Fiber was a dumb idea from the outset. Why? Well we tried it before they did. What was the problem. Costs. What costs. Three types. 1. Delay. It takes forever to get permits etc. The Incumbent can throw tons of stiff at you. 2. Franchise. You need one for every town. 3. Pole Attachments: Again the Incumbent. Fundamentally fiber can be real cheap. It costs about $20,000 per mile if nothing else is counted. Then if you consider the number of homes per mile at 50% penetration you can get the fiber down to $500 per customer! Drops are $200 and electronics per sub is about $300. Overall about $1,000. Then add the above and it goes to well over $3,000 and drop penetration to 25% and it doubles to $6,000! Now it is no longer a business. I recall speaking to some Google folks a decade or so ago. Back of the envelope stuff. It took them a decade and hundreds of millions to learn! That's Silicon Valley!

Now Wired states:

Eventually Google Fiber could offer even more radical wireless technologies. For example, Webpass has tested technology from Artemis Networks, a startup building a new type of wireless service that can “follow” users from place to place and guarantee a certain amount of bandwidth. Developing those sorts of technologies is a radical departure from building a network that provides actual fiber to homes, and requires a different type of workforce. In a letter to employees about the transition, Alphabet CEO Larry Page said the leaner Access will largely work in the field, not from the company’s headquarters in Mountain View. A more wireless future for Fiber still comes with risks. More traditional telcos are also eyeing high-speed wireless internet as a way to bypass more expensive traditional broadband. In the meantime, Alphabet is still trying to figure out how to be a company that provides internet at all.

 All you had to do was read what I wrote a decade or more ago. But that is West Coast vs East Coast. Wireless is the future, if one can get out of their own way. Now come Verizon. Buy Yahoo. Yeah, right. Look at Verizon stock, down almost 20% while the market is up 20%. Is the Board asleep? They are sitting on a gold mine in wireless licenses and they go after AoL and Yahoo. They could be the next Google in doing dumb things!