fiber broadband patch panel

During a panel discussion on public-private broadband partnerships at Fiber Connect, being held this week in Nashville, David Finn of Google Fiber outlined the company’s embrace of the open access model for broadband.

Finn, a director of corporate development at Google Fiber, highlighted the company’s recent open access partnership in West Des Moines, Iowa and a previous example with the public utility in Huntsville, Alabama as examples of how they are using the model to expand broadband access.

Google Fiber is now finalizing a similar partnership in Vermont that could potentially reach over 100K rural residents. Google is partnering with two Vermont communications union districts (CUD) for an open access network that Finn says will allow Google to reach every location with symmetrical gigabit capable broadband.

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The network will be built and owned by the public partner CUDs, with Google Fiber leasing network capacity to serve as the first ISP, with other ISPs also able to join the open access network and compete with Google.

The networks will reach roughly 45K homes. Finn argued that even with so much funding now available, it’s not enough to facilitate everyone, everywhere getting great internet, and he believes the open access model can help better achieve universal broadband access.

David Finn, Google
David Finn, Google

“When we first started talking to them, what they said was, the amount of money they had at their disposal would allow them to build 15 to 20 thousand homes, but they had 45 thousand in the community,” he said. “So what we proposed to the two CUDs, we are willing to pay you the difference effectively, paid in rent over a long of period of time, so now instead of just getting 15 or 20 thousand of those homes with great internet, now you can get them all with great internet.”

Vermont is quite active with the CUD model, where multiple communities come together to form a CUD and find partners to build and operate broadband networks to reach the unserved and underserved.

When asked if Google Fiber is pursuing additional open access partnerships, Finn responded, “We’re not rigid about the [open access] model, we’re in 13 markets around the country, and two of them are open access, in the other 11, it’s more conventional,” he said. “But we’re also really excited about this model…I think you are going to see us really be pretty active in the coming weeks and months with multiple models.”

Finn mentioned they’re in discussions with a cooperative in Colorado right now.

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4 thoughts on “Google Fiber Embracing Open Access Model to ‘Reach Everyone’

  1. I await evidence that Google Fiber actually exists. My city has been a Fiber city for almost a decade now and it is still unavailable.

    1. Yea, I mean to be fair they kinda said when they originally launched google fiber years ago that it was never really intended to be large. It was only intended to drum up competition and make other ISP’s more competitive, at a time when youtube was taking off and people needed more than 10-20mbps on average.

  2. While that model is OK, why stop there. All ISP’s in each county should have access to this fiber. Since Google is getting money from the government, the ownership should be shared with each county and Google would management lease the fiber and corridors. Then the County would vent the ISP’s that can do business. This creates competition (lower prices) and choices for the consumers. That is what our model is and it gets fully funded for both the middle mile and corridor in Urban setting. Then it covers the middle and last mile in the rural areas. All of them have multiple ISP able to sell to consumers. In the rural setting, the wireless segment would be on one single tower and shared with all the services. This would save huge money for all with not so many eye-sore towers. You would use land owned by the county as the same in the Urban setting. Again, this would be controlled by managing company in a shared ownership. You will not have regulatory issues when you share with the county! Then the communities get strands to run their systems as well. The emergency system would be on a closed system. This is the way it should be done, PPP, Private, Public Partnership! Manhattan-Digital LLC on LinkedIn.

  3. These are not open access networks. Open access requires multiple competing providers on an open system. These partnerships are better characterized as a P3 or PPP, with the city partnering with Google to be the provider on their public fiber system. These do not create competitive marketplaces. No one wants to compete with Google Fiber as they are currently subsidizing their fiber business from ad revenues to the tune of about a $2B quarterly operating loss at “Other Bets” (see Alphabet financial statements). A Google Fiber monopoly is what communities should build open access networks to prevent, not enable.

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