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Google Fiber’s chilling threat to cities: Do things our way or ‘enjoy your Time Warner Cable’

Published Feb 26th, 2015 8:30AM EST

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Google Fiber is a hugely ambitious project and because of this it requires a lot of help from municipalities where it’s launching. GigaOM reports that Google is definitely taking a “my way or the highway” approach to getting what it wants from cities and it knows exactly what button to push: It tells cities that if they don’t want to do things Google’s way, they’ll get stuck with having Time Warner Cable as their sole broadband provider.

RELATED: Google Fiber announces its biggest, most ambitious expansion yet

“If you make it easy, we will come,” Google Fiber VP of Access Services Milo Medin recently told an audience in Washington DC. “If you make it hard, enjoy your Time Warner Cable.”

Medin cited many cities’ archaic permitting processes, outdated and inaccurate maps, and continued reliance on ancient technologies such as fax machines as big impediments to bringing Google Fiber to new markets. What this means it’s highly unlikely we’re going to see a rapid expansion of Google Fiber simply because Google isn’t going to bother coming to cities that don’t play ball.

Interestingly, things could get easier for Google Fiber if the FCC votes to reclassify broadband services as utilities on Thursday — if reclassified under Title II, Google Fiber would have the same access to utility poles and other key infrastructure currently enjoyed by Comcast, AT&T and other big-name ISPs. Whether that actually speeds things up for Google Fiber deployments, however, is anyone’s guess.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.


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