Google says tear down local policy barriers to get faster broadband

28 October 2013 by Steve Blum
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No red tape to be seen.

“In Kansas City, my crews don’t wait for inspectors, the inspectors wait for them”, said Milo Medin, the head of Google Fiber. “We work with communities that make it easy for us. if you make it hard on us, enjoy your cable connection.”

Medin spoke last week to organisations funded by the California Emerging Technology Fund at a meeting hosted by Google in Mountain View. His message was that upgrading broadband infrastructure, improving service and lowering costs is an economic driver that should be proactively supported by policy makers and public agencies. “Cities and states can have policies that make building easier or harder”, he said.

Another example he cited is Austin, Texas, where the city says it’s adding ten new staffers to the permitting department to handle the expected flood of paperwork as Google’s fiber build out ramps up there.

The City of Provo in Utah certainly made it easier for Google to offer service, turning over ownership of a city-built but still incomplete fiber-to-the-home service for nearly nothing. Medin said Google Fiber’s first official customer in Provo was hooked up last week, as the transition from city ownership continues. The company is also opening a storefront Fiber Space in Provo, where curious customers can come and see what a gigabit connection would do for them.

One thing it’s already doing for people in Provo is lowering Internet pricing all around, as competition heads towards a boil. According to Medin, Comcast is offering 250 Mbps down/50 Mbps up for $70 per month and 105 Mbps triple play for $120 per month, matching Google’s price points if not its gigabit.

“Do any of you have a cable operator offering that in your area?” he asked.