FCC to Propose 100MB Broadband Access

Funny. When Google said last week that it was going to think big by offering experimental ultra high-speed Internet access to a small number of trial locations in the U.S. — “100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections” — the company explained that it had urged the FCC to do it through the National Broadband Plan.

Today FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said the agency will propose a “100 Squared Initiative” to bring speeds of 100 megabits per second to 100 million households by 2020. While that’s a lot of hundreds, it’s only 10 times faster than what’s common now (which is 10 times less than Google’s 100). Still, Reuters finds our beloved telcos already balking:

“A 100 meg is just a dream,” Qwest Communications International Inc Chief Executive Edward Mueller told Reuters. “We couldn’t afford it.”

“First, we don’t think the customer wants that. Secondly, if (Google has) invented some technology, we’d love to partner with them,” Mueller added.

FCCAT&T, the top broadband provider among U.S. telecommunications carriers, said the FCC should resist calls for “extreme forms of regulation that would cripple, if not destroy, the very investments needed to realize its goal.”

Verizon, the third-largest provider, and one that has a more advanced network than many competitors, said it has completed successful trials of 100 Mbps and higher through its fiber-optic FiOS network.

“(One gigabit per second) as discussed in current news reports is a lot of signal; typically enough for many massive business operations,” Verizon said in a statement that referred to Google’s plan to test a network with those speeds. “But we could make it happen over the FiOS network without much trouble, should a market for it develop.”

Google provided examples of the kinds of things that can be done on such a network. Google wants us to build a market. The telecom industry is * not * interested.

Why should they be? They’re comfy with the business they got; it’s an extremely profitable one with very high barriers to entry. (Remember, even Ma Bell is back.)

With few pesky competitors, only a company with Google’s profile could challenge them. I hope the FCC plan moves forward.