Commentary: Four reasons why Google fiber will never come to Seattle

google-fiberGoogle is bringing high speed fiber broadband networks to homes and businesses in three cities – Kansas City, Austin and Provo. In February, it announced 34 more cities it will approach for building fiber – Portland, Phoenix, Atlanta and more.

But not Seattle.

And Seattle won’t be making Google’s list anytime soon.

The “Seattle Process” and a balky bureaucracy at City Hall stand squarely in the way.

It wasn’t always this way. We were on the short list in 2010, when Google solicited cities to apply and become its launch city. 1,100 cities applied. And Google actually came to Seattle and met with Mayor McGinn and my team when I served as Chief Technology Officer for the City.

Now we’re not even on Google’s “long list.”

But Smyrna, Georgia, and Morrisville, North Carolina, are.

Why won’t Google build here?

1. The Seattle Process

When Google announced its launch city for Google Fiber – Kansas City – it was a sensation. And the very next day the Kansas City Council authorized a contract with Google for the service. Can you imagine the Seattle City Council keeping a secret like this and then acting on it in just one day? Of course not. We’d need to have endless community meetings and hearings and public floggings of Google Executives. Every citizen in a tinfoil hat who thinks fiber is just another cereal ingredient would have their three minutes in front of the Council.

We also love our lawyers — and haggling over every minute detail of contracts. Overland Park, Kansas, apparently has its own version of the Seattle process. It spent nine months arguing the Google Fiber contract, including an insignificant indemnity clause. Google finally just walked away.

2. Pole attachments

Seattle has over 100,000 utility poles, most owned by Seattle City Light and many jointly owned with CenturyLink. Under FCC rules, attachments to these poles by others must be allowed. Indeed, that’s the way cable companies Comcast and Wave have built their networks — by stringing fiber and coaxial cables on these poles.

Wires. Photo via Hallieg

Wires. Photo via Hallieg

But doing so is not cheap. A City Light pole lease is $28.12 a year. If the pole is co-owned by CenturyLink, the lease is $14.06 a year to City Light. At these rates, building a network on 100,000 poles to serve every home and business would cost Google up to $2.8 million just to rent the pole space.

But leasing the space is not the real problem. There are a lot of wires already on these poles, and many of the poles are old. As poles age, they rot from the center. Adding more cables may cause them to break. So, if Google (or anyone else) wants to add cables, they must pay City Light to survey the route, cut back vegetation overhanging the poles, test each pole and replace them if necessary.

This is patently unfair. Why should the latest company coming in to string wires have to pay the entire cost of the pole replacement? Moreover, this is a process that takes forever. At one time, City Light’s backlog to do pole attachment surveys and “make ready” work was over 18 months long.

3. Permits and Rules

Oh gosh we love permits. Attaching fiber cable to a pole in Seattle may require a pole attachment permit, a street use permit, and land use and environmental permits, among others.

And we love rules. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has a hornet’s nest of them. Rule 2-2009, which restricts the size of the cabinets on Seattle right-of-ways that house fiber, is one of the most appalling. Typically, a few fibers from a central location run to the cabinet, and then fiber or copper cables run from the cabinet to each home.

SDOT requires that 60 percent of the homeowners within 100 feet of a proposed new cabinet must give written consent to allow the cabinet to be placed in the right-of-way. In many neighborhoods, of course, properties are inhabited by renters, making homeowners very hard to track down.

This rule appears to be unique in the nation. Certainly it is not used by any other city in the Seattle area, or by Phoenix, Denver or Minneapolis. As a result, telecommunications companies invest their dollars for improving broadband elsewhere, and cities like Graham, Washington, have much faster Internet speeds than Seattle.

Citizens’ groups have tried to change this rule. UPTUN (Upping Technology for Underserved Neighbors) has been working on it for four years to little avail. And again, this is a rule, not a law or ordinance, which means it could be changed with just a stroke of the SDOT Director’s or Mayor’s pen.

4. Build out requirements

Build-out requirements are a standard feature of cable company franchises. A city gives a franchise to a cable company to serve a certain area, such as Seattle, north of the ship canal. But the company has to agree to build out and serve every premise in that area. This is a lofty goal because it means all neighborhoods, rich and poor, get served, although it increases the overall cost because the company builds cable on streets with few customers.

That’s not the way Google does it. In Kansas City there were 202 “fiberhoods,” but each such fiberhood had to have a minimum number of customers sign up for service, or the network would not be constructed. Few customers, no service. Google says that 180 of the 202 Kansas City fiberhoods have qualified for service, including 17 of the 20 with the lowest median incomes.

Given all these restrictions, why would Google ever build in any city?

Some cities recognize the value of high speed broadband and are willing to become partners. Kansas City wanted Google Fiber so badly it agreed, in its contract, to review all permits within five days. The city gave Google space, power and “related services” for its equipment at no charge. They also gave Google access to all its assets and infrastructure without cost. These assets included “conduit, fiber, poles, rack space, nodes, buildings, facilities … [and] available land”.

Former Mayor Mike McGinn discusses the Pioneer Square broadband project with then City of Seattle CTO Bill Schrier

Former Mayor Mike McGinn discusses the Pioneer Square broadband project with then City of Seattle CTO Bill Schrier

And the city did not charge Google for permit or inspection fees. There are no build-out requirements, although Google does consult with the city in determining which neighborhoods to serve. Kansas City gave Google a ten year contract on these terms.

Did Kansas City residents complain about these terms? You bet they did. According to the San Jose Mercury News, “they couldn’t get the service soon enough.”

Austin, Texas, is another impending Google Fiber city. Just the announcement of Google’s plans caused Time-Warner Cable to increase its Internet speed sixfold at no increase in cost.

Provo, Utah, is the third Google Fiber city. It enticed Google by selling its city fiber network, built at a cost of $39 million, to Google for just one dollar. Provo and Austin each have robust technology-based economies – and they are going to expand even further with competitive gigabit broadband.

So is all hope lost for Google Fiber in Seattle? What would it take to entice Google here?

This city is extraordinarily generous in investing in its future. It has passed housing levies and library levies and family-and-education levies. We’re building a $4 billion tunnel under downtown which will serve only a small segment of the population — freight and those driving Highway 99. We’ve considered spending the $700 million or more it would cost to build our own fiber network, which might provide a billion dollars in benefits each year.

Could we simply agree to pay for all the pole replacements and permitting as a city, and hire a few extra employees to expedite the process? Couldn’t we just hand over title to a few strands of the 500 mile fiber cable network we’ve built to Google Fiber? And eliminate archaic rules like the infamous SDOT 2-2009?

In return, we’d get a gigabit of connectivity to homes and businesses throughout the city. Each one of us would get 10 times the speed for half the cost. We’d be as connected as Gladstone, Missouri, and Olathe, Kansas.

There’s just one question: Do we love our Seattle process too much?

Editor’s note: This post originally ran on Crosscut, and was reprinted on GeekWire with permission. 

Bill Schrier retired in 2012 as the Chief Technology Officer for the City of Seattle. During his nine-year tenure, he directed information technology operations and policy, reporting directly to Mayors Greg Nickels and Mike McGinn. Bill is presently a senior policy advisor to the Chief Information Officer of the State of Washington. He lives in West Seattle with his wife Kathy and granddaughter Elizabeth. You can follow him on Twitter @billschrier

  • isaacalexander

    So since Seattle is out of the running, what about other cities in the Puget Sound region? Bellingham, Bremerton, Bellevue, Everett, Kirkland, Olympia, Tacoma, Redmond, Renton, Issaquah?

    • rick gregory

      Your list actually highlights something about this region that might be, if not unique, different from other cities and especially different from small places like Olathe, Kansas, etc – wiring just Seattle won’t really bring the full benefit of gigabit speeds to the region. Even if we just look at where tech companies and their workers are, we’d need to wire Kirkland, Redmond and Bellevue too. And really, a large chunk of the population in Puget Sound lives outside of those cities so we kind of need to wire up most of the three county area (King, Pierce and Snohomish). That’s vastly different than wiring just Seattle.

      • http://eyejot.com/users/davidg davidgeller

        I don’t think you have to include everyone in our vast environs in order to benefit one city, Seattle. There would still be enormous value in having truly high-speed internet service available to people living and working in Seattle. The surrounding areas would, over time, work to improve their infrastructure (with providers like Comcast and Frontier) to remain competitive. When people start abandoning apartments, condos and homes to move back to urban neighborhoods market forces will start driving regional improvements.

        • rick gregory

          Depends on the goals. Don’t mistake what I’m saying, I’d like to see it. But the question becomes “Why” and if the why is to give us a competitive advantage then we really do need to encompass more than Seattle proper. Like it or not, the businesses of this region and the people who work in them aren’t all in the city limits, not by a long shot.

          As for market forces… do we really want to drive rents and property values sky-high? I get thats attractive if you have a house in the city, but I don’t want my city to become some high rent desert where only people who make $150k can live.

          Finally, two things. First what’s the competitive reason to wire, say, Phinney Ridge or other basically residential areas? Second, what are other cities seeing when moving to gigabit speeds? Are there things being done that can’t be done with, say, 50meg speeds? 100meg?

          • Bill Schrier

            Rick and David:
            Think back to 1999, a scant 15 years ago. Could you have imagined tablet computers or smartphones, or Google Glass or Netflix or Hulu or YouTube? In 1999 you would have been happy with a 256k Internet speed.
            Similarly, we can’t envision exactly what 2029, 15 years from now, will be like, but we know it will suck a lot of bandwidth in homes.
            Think: whole rooms with screens on every side with HD, full-motion video. Having dinner with family who live 1000 miles away every night in such a room. Interactive gaming with Kinect and HD video in such a room. Sitting in your living room and attending classes and interacting with the other students and professor with zero latency HD. Working from home yet attending a meeting just like you are there. Quad or 16x HD.
            That’s the future Kansas City, Provo, Austin, and the other Google cities are being wired for.
            -bill
            P.S. Obama’s $700B stimulus of 2009 included $7B for high speed broadband networks. Not much, but still it was $7billion and this state got a lot, mostly for rural areas.

          • David Smith

            whole rooms with screens on every side with HD….

            Possible, but Google has been developing self-driving car technology. What if the future of transportation is robotic cars with situational awareness and co-ordination from a cloud source? That could require lots of bandwidth with fiber as the backbone, radio the last few feet. The internet “taxies” are just the beginning, just as the self-driving car. A fleet of robotic “taxies” could replace our need to own, drive and park cars, or hop on a large mass transit vehicle stuck inflexibly on a route that has to come to a complete stop for passengers along the way. Robotic cars teaming up to behave like a train can allow passengers to enter/exit without stopping while giving point-to-point transportation, then recirculating to fit transit needs. No fiber=no development in this area.

      • Bill Schrier

        Rick Gregory:
        Good point, but look at the Google list. The cities they are considering have a major city, e.g. Portland or Nashville, and a bunch of the surrounding suburbs. Google gets your point. But we don’t get Google.
        -bill

      • Matt Wass de Czege

        It is no different in the KC metro too. You are dealing with 2 states, 4 – 5 counties, 2 major city entities, 5 mid tier cities, and 10 – 20 smaller townships. Unified Government of KCK went first because it is likely the poorest city/county government in the state of Kansas and has been passing anything to stimulate economic growth, this has included a NASCAR track and huge shopping center. In the case of those areas they declared eminent domain to push out old family farmers, so passing the Google Fiber development would have been a nonissue. The big difference between KC and Seattle is that the major governments in Seattle are doing quite well vs in KC, where the smaller townships (Johnson County) are doing good.

    • Bill Schrier

      Isaacalexander:

      Nope, nothing in Washington state. Closest is Portlandia. See full list here: https://fiber.google.com/newcities/

      -bill

      • isaacalexander

        Let me rephrase the question. Why isn’t any other city in Puget Sound, let alone Washington State not on Google’s list? Just looking for theories right now as to why the Evergreen state is being shut out from Google Fiber.

        • Bill Schrier

          Isaac:
          Well, I’m not really sure why no Washington city is included. From the looks on their map, Google is looking for a large central city it can fiber up, along with a bunch of suburbs, i.e. Seattle and suburbs. So if Seattle’s not included, none of the suburbs are, either. One problem for us might be that Seattle is separated from many of the suburbs by Lake Washington, whereas the other cities have the central city just across the street from the suburbs.
          I’m not sure what other criteria they used in choosing cities. I’m just guessing.
          -bill

          • isaacalexander

            Thanks Bill. So most likely the first cites in Washington State to have access to Google Fiber would be Vancouver & Camas?

          • Bill Schrier

            Isaac:

            There map of cities is at https://fiber.google.com/newcities/

            In the Portland area, only Oregon suburbs are listed – none in Washington. I wish I had a contact at Google to give me the real scoop as to the reason they won’t build here.
            -bill

          • Christopher Carr

            Google has said that Vancouver is not being considered — not part of the Portland metro plans.

  • Viet Nguyen

    Every once in a while, an op/ed commentary comes out that’s so clear and well-thought out that hopefully it’ll make a difference with the decision-makers at the city. Bill Schrier’s influence outlasts his tenure with Seattle. Solidly written.

    • jim lewis

      Mayor Murray states dealing with these permit issues is a priority. Lets hope it is important and can happen before the Comcast contract runs out in just under two years. Looks like Google might have their eye on the Fios Fiber network in Kirkland. The job posting for a fiber plant engineer looks like more than is needed for the new Google campus there.

      • Viet Nguyen

        Interesting!

    • Bill Schrier

      Thanks, Viet. I hope the folks at City Hall are listening!
      -bill

      • johnhcook

        Bill. I was thinking today: Could the city of Seattle require Comcast — next time their contract is coming up — to negotiate a deal whereby Comcast is required to provide a level of high-speed Internet service to our citizens that is the fastest in the country?

        Comcast wouldn’t like that. So, as a compromise, the city could then ask for an average in which Seattle must be in the top 10 nationwide, or globally for that matter.

        If Comcast doesn’t hit the milestones, they are fined in a big way.

        Bake it into the contract.

        If Comcast balks, the city goes elsewhere.

        Could this happen?

        • Bill Schrier

          John:
          Great question.
          The telecommunications act of 1996 governs all things telecommunications, internet and cable, and it basically divides the network world into those three classifications. In 1996 “cable” meant “cable TV”, and did not include Internet. So the franchising process is restricted to cable television. Seattle – and all others who franchise cable companies – have zero control over cable company internet offerings.
          “Telecommunications” can be regulated by States, e.g. the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC).
          But only the FCC can regulate Internet services. And, as you’ve seen by the recent court decision in Verizon vs. FCC, which the FCC lost, they’ve failed miserably at that.
          -bill

          • johnhcook

            Interesting. Thanks Bill. Was hoping there was an easy way for city govt. to put pressure on cable companies to amp up our broadband, but doesn’t sound like it. Too bad.

          • Per-Ola

            Very interesting article, but it has to start (long time ago) with planning. When “we” (a municipality) digs up a street (for any reason), we need to put in a bunch of empty conduits. It does not cost much per linear foot. Eventually we will have a well developed network of empty conduits. This will lowers the entry cost for anyone coming in with “wired” services, and reduces the disruption of constantly digging up our streets and ROWs. It just needs to be coordinated across PUDs, Cities, counties, electrical companies, telcos, etc. And it is not rocket science, It is just a matter of planning and a wee bit of foresight.

            But as much as we love Fiber (although I have elected to stay away from Frontier’s crappy offering and remain with hated Comcast), there is LTE on the horizon as well. LTE already today offers speeds that can compete with wired connections (not fiber), and with more and smaller cells, combined with a different pricing structure from the carriers, I think we will see wireless a mass adoption of “last mile” becoming a reality. Clearwire was a pioneer, they were just too early had picked a technology that did not sway the markets. LTE is different. World wide adoption.

          • Bill Schrier

            Per-Ola:

            Actually, Seattle did just what you suggested back in 1996. In other words the Seattle Department of Transportation’s street permit process requires that anytime a street is dug up to put in conduit, that the contractor has to install spare empty conduit at incremental expense for use by the City. In this fashion the City has built a fiber network of 500 miles, more than 50,000 strand-miles.

            Yes, LTE (long-term evolution) wireless is coming. But it will never be able to replace fiber. The problem with wireless is one-to-many. There is one cell tower which broadcasts to many devices, but all the bandwidth in that tower is shared among all the devices. With fiber you get a full 1 gigabit per second EACH way. When we are talking multiple high definition video feeds to wall-sized TVs, LTE is quickly overwhelmed.

            See also http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2022854455_cellfailurexml.html

            -bill

          • SonoranSnoozer

            Phoenix has a “dig once” policy, where anytime a street is dig up, enough conduit for reasonable future use has to be put in the ground. Couple that with the fact that a “ditch witch” can put in a very large pipe at a low cost by drilling horizontally (no digging necessary and no pole rent fee) and you can see why Google is considering Phoenix. Centurylink is blowing in fiber all over the place so that it can offer 40 Mbps Internet and IP based TV service. Almost everyone on Phoenix will have 2 viable options now for high speed Internet, and the competition will be fierce, ESPECIALLY if Google gets into the game. Hopefully the competition will cause the ISPs to increase the usage caps which are like shackles on innovation.

  • Leif Espelund

    While I agree that the Seattle process, the onerous permits, the pole fees and silly rules are all big problems, I think it is super sad that we are holding up cities that gave away huge concessions to Google as the standard to live up to. It speaks to the poor state of our national broadband and the complete lack of any real competition that these cities will fork over all those public resources just for the opportunity to pay a for-profit company for a basic service. And I’m not judging them. I’d give almost anything to never have to pay Comcast another dime. It just sucks that our best hope is a knight in rainbow armour coming to our rescue.

    • Viet Nguyen

      Not sure that there is any consideration of giving away any kind of concessions, but rather creating an environment hospitable to competition in the marketplace. The city exacts some pretty stiff requirements if you want to play in this space.

      For instance, the cable franchise fee is 5% of gross revenues. That’s gross, not net. How many startups would be capable of shelling out 5% of gross receipts? You would also be required to serve everybody in your franchise area, no matter how difficult the engineering challenge.

      That’s in addition any of the sales taxes, B&O taxes, permitting costs, electricity costs, engineering studies and fees, etc. that you’d you have to pay into. Then you have to pay for the make-ready work that Bill Schrier mentions so that you can run fiber on the utility poles, including replacing those poles that have rotted from the interior and clearing out the vegetation.

      After you’ve figured that all out, then you can begin to compete from a disadvantageous position in terms of marketing budget and customers who are locked into existing service contracts with the incumbent.

      • Leif Espelund

        I’m not talking about Seattle’s concessions. I’m saying it is sad that we are heralding Provo’s turning over of $39 million in public infrastructure investment to a private firm to run internet service at a profit as a great standard. That is a crazy good deal for Google, a huge company that makes a ton of money and can afford to build out a network on their own.

        And again, I’m not blaming Provo for doing it. I would happily support turning over Seattle’s fiber network to Google or any other company that offered an alternative to Comcast and CenturyLink. It is just crazy that the standards are so low thanks to the monopoly that is in place in most cities.

        I’m totally in favor of removing barriers to entry, simplifying the process, and making a more competitive playing field. The whole pole situation as described is ridiculous. The cost should be shared among all the users, which would mean that competition would bring the costs down for everyone (including City Light). The idea that you need to get everyone in a neighborhood to agree before a utility box is installed is also ludicrous. But permit processes and some public oversight is still a good thing.

        The cable franchise fee is basically a monopoly fee and completely reasonable given the situation. I think if we are going to allow monopolies we should extract more public good out of them. Comcast is making money hand over fist for the shitty service they provide. The US broadband situation sucks thanks to deregulation: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24528383

        • Bill Schrier

          Leif:
          I tend to agree with you that Kansas City and Provo gave away the farm. Of course if I was Mayor of a place like Kansas City, Kansas, I’d be desperate too! Provo tried to build a fiber-to-the-home network and the City was losing its shirt, so probably glad to give it away to Google.
          I tried to suggest something less than Kansas City’s give-away, but still reasonable enough to attract a Google.
          Seattle’s fiber network is used by virtually every school, college and public agency within the boundaries, but still has spare fiber.
          -bill

          • Leif Espelund

            Thanks for trying Bill and for the insider knowledge. I’m really sad the Gigabit Squared deal fell through (not that they were planning for my hood anyway). I’d love to see a follow up piece from you (or other insiders) with a step by step plan for what regular folks can do to change this situation.

          • Bill Schrier

            Good suggestion, Leif. I’ll put that story idea in my backlog!
            -bill

        • jnffarrell1

          Fuzzy headed talk about “they can afford to build it out on their own” or let’s bleed the golden goose of 5% of its gross every year until it dies and expect the goose to volunteer for the ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES is a deterrent to any businessman.

    • jnffarrell1

      Google-cities agreed not to be stupid. If Seattle’s leadership is stupid enough to insist on inefficiency then less power to them.

  • rayburt456

    Google internet at Starbucks is BLAZING fast

  • SanityPlease

    Our city council won’t even let Lyft or Uberx in the city (or change the rules so that taxis and TNCs all have less regulation and more competition). I don’t have much hope for Google Fiber. Maybe I’m being too fatalistic – but precedence is pretty awful.

    Thanks for the great writing Bill.

  • 509

    Need to have a discussion on that law insisted on by Locke that pretty much killed municipal broadband in Washington state.

    You know Chelan Douglas, Grant and Pend Oreille Counties have provided fiber internet to residents for over a decade. If you want a high tech network just follow the sunshine over the hill.

  • Kell

    I live in Kansas City, Missouri, where we were second only to Kansas City, Ks (across the Missouri River) to receive Google fiber. I am writing because everything I see on the Internet lauding Google fiber to the skies is written by people who have no experience with Google fiber. People from other cities, reading and BELIEVING the google fiber line, are panting to get the service. So I’m going to enlighten you about what it’s really like.

    I would never again sign up for Google fiber. I have several reasons for saying that, but let me start with their “fiberhood” sign-ups. When Google came to the KC area a couple of years ago, they sent out what I’ll call “front teams” to gauge how to best get their product into people’s hands. Now I’m no fan of big advertising and its delving the human psyche for ways to get their you-need-me bites into our brains. But at least advertising is generally a known quantity. Not so with Google’s tactics. They play dirty.

    In KC, Google sent teams of 20-something minions wearing google fiber uniforms (blue jeans, white tennis shoes, white google fiber t-shirts) into the community to convince us that we “needed” the service. (By the way, fiber is NOT a utility. The Supreme Court settled that question with a cable service case a number of years ago.) They infiltrated homes associations through the boards of directors, asking the boards to allow them to speak at association get-togethers.

    I happened to be on one of those boards. They asked us – elected representatives – to speak to our constituents, urging them to sign up for the service. In return, we would earn the right to have fiber installed in our association first. It became a big contest throughout south Kansas City, pitting citizen against citizen and association against association. I asked point blank why we should do Google’s advertising for them because that’s what they were asking us to do. They denied that their sign-up contests were advertising…except how were residents learning about the product except through their own homes associations? So gullible residents signed up because google used a fear tactic, the threat of having installation delayed. Google fiber score: negative one in my book. Positive however-many-millions-they-were-making on their side. Google saved on its advertising bill, but the service is not cheaper. It took its customers’ gullibility straight to the bank.

    Months later, their teams of little white service vehicles with the cute little bunnies painted on their sides hit the association neighborhoods, descending on back yards and climbing telephone poles, attaching wires and fiber boxes. Four (count them, four!) technicians came to my home to ask me where I wanted the box placed. I told them four times that I wanted the box placed below the other utility boxes on the back side of the home. Could they do that? No. They put it in the middle of a wall. Eight. Feet. Away. Okay, so not a biggie, but still. They refused to relocate the box when I complained. Google fiber score: A bit less than negative one.

    Flash forward several months and we in the association are all waiting for this lightning-fast internet speeds to better our lives and shorten wait times while we’re emailing and browsing. Our service starts working and…can’t use my cell phone anywhere in the house except three specific spots in two rooms. Now I never had a problem with phone service at my home, either on an Android product or on an iPhone prior to Google fiber being installed. Google is incompatible with apple phones! Can’t use the phone (iPhone 5 purchased May 2013) in the kitchen, the bedrooms, the upstairs TV room, or the basement. Can use the phone in one spot in the living room, one spot in the dining room (sometimes), and the staircase landing upstairs! Brand new phones! We call google. They send out two techs who ask if we have iPhones. We say, “Yes.” They say, “Oh, yeah. We have trouble with them.”) They explain we need signal boosters,which they install. They leave, but not before recommending that we get Androids! Now we can use our iPhones in the same three areas of the home, but in different specific spots. We call google. They say they can’t help. Sorry, Google, but you’re moving farther – WAY farther – to the left on that imaginary number line.

    But wait, things get better!!! (By the way, I have verified that 6 neighbors in a 3-block area have the same problems as those I’m describing here.) So remember the promise of lightning-fast internet speed? I have one word for you: HA! My 18-month-year-old computer does not run any faster than it did before. Have called Google out twice with no results. One tech said (and get this one): “Well, you know, when you get all those people out there using the internet at the same time, it slows things down.” The other tech told us, “It’s because not all internet traffic is moving across fiber. Other services are incompatible, so it slows everything down.” Yes, that’s what two techs told us. So Google fiber is only faster if nobody is on the internet? Uh, that’s not how they’ve pitched their product. That Google score is sliding fast to the left of zero on my imaginary number line.

    So should you be freaking out that your community isn’t on Google’s radar?Personally, I’m considering chucking this over-hyped service and going back to the good old days of cable providers so I can talk on the phone in every room in my home and click on a link on my laptop without having to watch 22 seconds elapse before anything happens on the screen. (I’m not exaggerating on this. I timed it.)

    I see here that lots of people are wondering why their larger communities (near Seattle) can’t get fiber if places like Olathe, KS can get it. Olathe is part of the greater Kansas City area, so it’s not an isolated little town. Don’t let Google’s mind control techniques get to you. They’re trying to set community against community in an effort to create a false sense of need, and a desperate one at that. If they tell Seattle it’s out of the running, they get all the burbs to feel like they’re missing the next life-giving technology if they can’t get it. All those burb residents talk together on the internet, at work, at home, in restaurants, and they create the hype I see in the discussions on this site. There are, of course, lots of people who are happy with Google fiber. But don’t delude yourselves into believing it’s going to change your lives, save you tons of time, give you a superior phone signal, etc. It’s a crap shoot. You may get lucky and you may not.

    I will say this though: Google needs to come clean about this service. It needs to stop the mind games about their stupid fiberhoods, stop making people do its advertising for it, stop turning communities into enemies so that it, Google, can make more money. This is how a corporation becomes evil. And Google is, in my experience, fast on the road to becoming EEEE-VIL. Good luck in your dealings with the little Google minions.

    • David Black

      You sound like a bureaucrat that doesn’t like the idea of a company playing by their own rules. You assume people are too stupid to see past Google’s ‘Mind Control’. That’s silly. You really want us to believe people are too stupid to see passed some 20-somethings sales pitch? You must think your constituents are idiots too.

  • http://www.nashville.com/ Nashville

    It is just one of the requirements the tech giant set out when it said Nashville could be one of the next cities to get its ultra-high speed Google Fiber internet connection.

    http://www.nashville.com/news/nashville-business/google-fiber-passes-first-vote-at-metro-council-video

  • ha

    “nananabooboo”

    from, Kansas & Missouri