Google’s real buzz – the shot across the bow of broadband providers

I have for the longest time proposed that if we ever want real innovations and world class Internet connectivity it would take a company with the balls to be happy just being a dumb pipe. I said as much again in a podcast last night with Sean P. Aune but little did I realize that today Google would be the company I was suggesting.

To clarify what I mean by a dumb pipe: it is an Internet provider whose only business is providing its customers with the fastest speeds possible at the lowest price possible. They are not a cable company slash television network. They are not a telecommunication company with built-in prejudices. They are not an entertainment company looking to maximize their profits.

They are strictly a dumb pipe.

So what do I wake up to this morning but Google’s announcement that they are going into the ISP business at 1Gigabit speeds and they are making it open to boot.

Dumb pipe anyone?

Granted Google is a provider of all kinds of data but they are the only company so far that is willing to accept the fact that once the data hits the pipe there is no difference from one piece of data to another. Whether it be a VoIP call, a cellphone call, a stream of music, or a blog post. They are all the same ones and zeros.

The pipe doesn’t need to make any differentiations. There are no such things as bundled services to a pipe. There is no need to charge a separate price for your Internet phone from the price charged for your Internet connection or even your television signal.

To the dumb pipe there is no difference and in one simple announcement Google has acknowledged that and at the same time told the incumbent broadband providers that the 800 pound gorilla has just entered the game.

Granted I would have much preferred a company with less skin in the game than Google has but if this move forces some real change in favor of the consumer then I’ll take my change where I can find it.

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