Google TVGoogle is building a 1 Gbps FTTH network in Kansas City, with service expected to begin sometime later this year. There is growing speculation that Google intends to offer video as a part of a triple play bundle on this network.

A report by the Kansas City Star reveals that Google has applied for a license from the FCC to operate a video capture facility or “antenna farm” as they label it, for a Council Bluffs, Iowa location. Council Bluffs is about 180 miles away from Kansas City. Telecompetitor has recently learned that there is indeed an IPTV capable headend construction project about to begin in Council Bluffs, IA. Coincidence? Maybe.

Here is where it gets interesting. If that project is for Google, why Council Bluffs and not Kansas City? The proximity makes it a logical choice for Kansas City, but for what or where else? Could this facility power more than just a Kansas City video operation for Google?

When you think of all the video assets Google now controls, you could come to the conclusion that a Council Bluffs, Iowa based headend could power much more than just a video play in Kansas City. They have Google TV, YouTube, the Android App Marketplace, and soon Motorola, who happens to be a part of North America’s set-top-box duopoly. Combine all of those assets with a new super headend based ‘smack dab’ in the middle of the country, and the possibilities are quite interesting indeed.

Perhaps Google intends to use all of these assets for a new nationwide OTT type offer, feeding televisions, tablets, and smartphones that run Android (or any other OS for that matter). Or maybe they have plans to wholesale a video offer to other service providers. Or maybe it’s just to focus on the Kansas City project. Of course, this is all speculation on our part, since Google hasn’t confirmed anything, telling the Kansas City Star, “We’re still exploring what product offerings will be available when we launch Google Fiber.”

One thing is for sure. Should Google decide to offer some form of a video package in Kansas City, or elsewhere, it will be a glimpse into their vision of what video service should look like in an IP networked broadband world. I suspect that vision will add an injection of innovation into the legacy model that most of us enjoy today. Stay tuned.


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7 thoughts on “Is Google Building an IPTV Super Headend?

  1. Another interesting question – if they do IPTV, what middleware will they choose? Microsoft, Minerva, or will their be a new Android middleware coming?

  2. Don't forget that Council Bluffs is located just across the river from Omaha – a long-time stronghold and MAJOR switching center for Qwest (now CenturyLink). Even if CenturyLink would not directly serve a Google headend in CB, there are national fiber networks travelling through the Omaha area that Google could easily use for transport. Isn't speculation a wonderful thing? 🙂

  3. Getting FTTH will be great, but it is going to need the infrastructure inside the home to support it. Going beyond a single stream of HD video over WiFi will kill the quality of service — exactly where Google mis-stepped with Google TV (besides the interface issues). They need a service platform Wi3's WiPNET to provide ubiquitous and reliable Internet access to the home.

  4. Several years ago I did some work in the CB area for an antenna farm. If I recall, that was one of the best satellite downlink areas geographically speaking related to birds in the sky. Content delivery via satellite and conversion to terrestrial distribution is an awsome play. Google has DF assets and lit services from all the large players. They can figure out how to touch nearly every major metro tier 1 and 2 with little expense. It's the metro where $ start to add up unless you et a city approval such as KC to build the network with all the tax benefits… Now, if your a cableco, you'd probably raise issue at some point that google got preferential treatment to enter a market as an overbuilder and the cableco has been spending $B upgrading thier networks for 2 way xmision, higher speed, reliability, telephone, business class service and didn't get a dime for doing that.

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