Google, Facebook, Microsoft follow Ford's vertical integration path

9 July 2016 by Steve Blum
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Another big, transpacific fiber cable is now lit. Less than two years after it was announced, the FASTER consortium has completed construction of a link between Bandon, Oregon and two landing sites in Japan, with a further extension to Taiwan. The group’s membership includes Google as well as several Asian telecoms companies, including China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, Global Transit, KDDI and Singtel. NEC built it.

Google is taking one-sixth of the capacity, 10 terabits per second out of a total of 60 Tbps.… More

Google Fiber buys Webpass, jumps into CLEC infrastructure access fight

23 June 2016 by Steve Blum
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Webpass was just acquired by Google Fiber. See this morning’s blog post about Webpass’ beef with AT&T at the California Public Utilities Commission for more info on what Webpass is up to.

It won’t have an immediate impact on the proceeding – lots of hoops to jump through first – but long term, it gives Google Fiber a big, new weapon in its fight to gain access to fundamental broadband infrastructure in California. There are also implications – positive – for its current fiber-to-the-apartment project in San Francisco.… More

Google and Apple lag behind in self-driving car development, Musk says

9 June 2016 by Steve Blum
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A head start matters.

Google won’t be making self-driving cars, but Apple probably will, although it’s coming late to the game. That’s how Elon Musk handicaps the autonomous vehicle sweepstakes. He’s in a better position to judge than most people. His company, Tesla, already has a semi-autonomous car on the market and is trying to break out of its Silicon Valley-centric niche and into the mainstream of mass market manufacturers.

Musk talked about the steep competitive slope new entrants into the automotive business have to climb at a recent conference.… More

San Jose cuts a fiber deal but Google won't say yes yet

27 May 2016 by Steve Blum
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Click for the big picture.

San Jose is all for it, but Google Fiber remains coy about whether it’s going to build a fiber to the home system there, or elsewhere in the south Bay Area. On Tuesday, the San Jose city council voted unanimously to approve a construction plan and five fiber hut site leases on city land, for a prospective Google Fiber buildout.

Jenna Wandres, the Google representative at the meeting, said that they plan to build out to virtually the city, with the only possible exceptions physically hard to reach locations in the hills.… More

Google makes stupid move with smart home product

23 April 2016 by Steve Blum
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The lost hubs of Easter Island.

If you bought a home automation hub from Revolv, sorry, it’s about to be bricked. Google bought Nest, which in turn bought Revolv, and then decided to turn off the servers that make its gizmos work

So we’re pouring all our energy into Works with Nest and are incredibly excited about what we’re making. Unfortunately, that means we can’t allocate resources to Revolv anymore and we have to shut down the service.


Something about broadband is a laughing matter

2 April 2016 by Steve Blum
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The good stuff is no joke.

It was hard to tell which post on the Google Fiber blog yesterday was the April Fool’s joke, and which was the sober look at the world ahead. On the one hand, a Google engineer, Pál Takácsi, reflected on the need to boost broadband speeds by a billion times

While gigabit speeds are fast, we have come across an application where 1,000 Mbps is actually quite slow. Terribly slow.


Self-driving cars coming sooner than you expect

12 March 2016 by Steve Blum
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The Consumer Technology Association – the sponsor of CES (don’t dare call it the Consumer Electronics Show) – says even though we’ll see the first fully autonomous cars by 2020, by 2030 there only be 1 million sold per year. By 2045 – all but 30 years from now – maybe half the cars sold will be self driving.

I don’t think so. My prediction is that by 2020 more than half the cars sold in California will include self-driving features, and you’ll be able to buy a fully autonomous vehicle for less than $25,000.… More

Gigabit competition upsets cozy pricing equilibrium

15 February 2016 by Steve Blum
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It will come back up, eventually.

Big incumbents are cranking up the marketing volume on a gigabit services in urban areas with high revenue potential, but there’s very little, if any, gigabit-capable infrastructure actually deployed yet, except for Verizon’s FiOS systems. So pricing for some is still conceptual, and high, while others are already fighting it out on the ground.

Comcast is talking about charging $299 a month and a $1,000 installation fee for its 2 Gbps service.… More

Artificial intelligence is smart enough for (some) federal highway safety rules

13 February 2016 by Steve Blum
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Assume feet and hands.

The federal highway transportation safety agency agrees with Google that the artificial intelligence system that controls its autonomous cars is the driver for purposes of federal vehicle safety rules. According to a letter sent to Google by the agency and posted on its website

Google’s design choices in its proposed approach to the [self driving vehicle] raise a number of novel issues in applying the [federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSSs)].


Money is no object for high tech traffic laws

17 January 2016 by Steve Blum
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“A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you’re talking real money”, Illinois senator Everett Dirksen said of Washington’s spending habits back in the 1960s. That was when a billion dollars would get you more than a cup of coffee. Heck, it might even have bought an official U.S. Air Force toilet seat back in the day.

Now, it’s only a good start on writing new rules for self-driving cars. The U.S. transportation department is planning to spend $4 billion to come up with new laws and procedures that would allow fully autonomous vehicles to operate on the nation’s roads.… More