04/14/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Google Bringing High Speed to Your Home

Since at least 2005, Google has been purchasing dark fiber. This is fiber optic cable that has already been distributed but not yet in use. Here we are five years later and on February 10th, Google announces its plans to build an ultra-fast broadband network. This is a high-speed network that will offer speeds of 1Gbps to your house. Google explains that this is simply a small trial but the service will be at a "competitive cost." As per Google's announcement on Wednesday -- 50, 000 to 500, 000 American homes will be participating in the trials. During the proof of concept there will be three key areas that Google will focus on:

  1. Next generation apps: We want to see what developers and users can do with ultra high-speeds, whether it's creating new bandwidth-intensive "killer apps" and services, or other uses we can't yet imagine.

  2. New deployment techniques: We'll test new ways to build fiber networks, and to help inform and support deployments elsewhere, we'll share key lessons learned with the world.

  3. Openness and choice: We'll operate an "open access" network, giving users the choice of multiple service providers. And consistent with our past advocacy, we'll manage our network in an open, non-discriminatory and transparent way.
In an effort to get a better understanding of who might be interested -- Google is posting a request for information (RFI). The company will be collecting submissions up until March 26, 2010. The ETA on when Google will be announcing what communities have been chosen will be later this year.

Currently, most American homes see anywhere between 3Mbps to 20 Mbps. At those speeds there is a limitation to the use of broadband applications and how much content can be distributed.

Imagine sitting in a rural health clinic, streaming three-dimensional medical imaging over the web and discussing a unique condition with a specialist in New York. Or downloading a high-definition, full-length feature film in less than five minutes. Or collaborating with classmates around the world while watching live 3-D video of a university lecture.

The "GoogleNet" would make this a possibility. It would allow for the development of broadband applications like telemedicineteleworkinge-government and telegaming. Google is not looking to compete with telecommunications companies -- they are simply building a use case to prove that ultra-fast broadband networks and broadband applications are viable; at a lower cost.

The FCC chair, Julius Genachowski, sees this project as a blessing, saying that "big broadband creates big opportunities." In March, Genachowski is set to unveil the FCC's Broadband Policy to Congress.