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Google Postpones 1-Gig Broadband Project

By: Todd Spangler, Multichannel News

Google has pushed off the selection of where it will deploy a 1-Gigabit-per-second fiber network until next year, and has tapped Milo Medin, former chief technology officer and co-founder of the cable industry's ill-fated @Home Network venture, to head up the initiative.

In a blog post Wednesday, Medin said the Internet giant is delaying the selection of which towns or cities will be the lucky recipient of a 1 Gbps fiber-to-the-home network until 2011.

Milo Medin"We had planned to announce our selected community or communities by the end of this year, but the level of interest was incredible -- nearly 1,100 communities across the country responded to our announcement -- and exceeded our expectations," said Medin, whose title is vice president of access services. "While we're moving ahead full steam on this project, we're not quite ready to make that announcement."

Google in February 2010 announced "Think Big With a Gig," a contest to fund the buildout of a 1-Gbps FTTH network or networks that will serve between 50,000 to 500,000 people.Google's aim with the experimental project is to demonstrate what's possible with an ultra-high-speed network capable of handling future bandwidth-hungry applications such as "collaborating with classmates around the world while watching live 3D video of a university lecture."

To date, Google has been experimenting with new fiber deployment technologies on its campus in Mountain View, Calif., and announced a "beta" network to connect 850 residences at Stanford University.

The @Home venture was founded in 1996 by Medin, William Randolph Hearst III, TCI, Comcast and Cox Communications. The company, which acquired Web portal Excite, filed for bankruptcy in September 2001. Its high-speed fiber network subsequently was sold back to AT&T and some 1,350 Excite@Home employees were laid off.

In the past year, telcos and cable companies have been testing 1-Gbps Internet connections and Verizon has shown 10-Gbps links over its FiOS network, but today such speeds aren't useful for residential users on the open Internet.


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