San Jose Google Fiber deployment on HOLD

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Google Fiber has told the City of San Jose after two years of effort that it is “putting plans on hold while the company explores a lower cost alternative”.

It appears, the lack of access to utility poles permitted by the City of San Jose but somehow controlled by existing ISPs (Comcast, Cox, AT&T) has made access near impossible for Google without a court battle.

It appears, San Jose is being held hostage by existing ISPs via third parties shell companies that control infrastructure, with restricted membership, and voting rights, that should be City controlled. Googles legal counsel states “The Northern California Joint Pole Association has refused to grant membership to Google, and membership is required for access to the group’s poles”. Among the association’s voting members are AT&T and Comcast.

Perhaps, City of San Jose leaders need to review existing City codes and speed passage of new codes that prevent this type of non-competitive environment from existing in San Jose. Shouldn’t the city be the only party in control of City infrastructure?

If a new company (Google) is no longer able to enter the Internet Service Provider market in San Jose, just as AT&T, Comcast and Cox once entered this market, it brings into question what has been permitted by City of San Jose leaders that created such a non-competitive landscape?

AT&T, Comcast and Cox were allowed to provide cable TV and analog phone communications in San Jose via pole wiring and under ground wiring.

Sure access to city infrastructure is provided by permit from the City of San Jose and should always be under the control of the City of San Jose. How is it possible that any company or group of companies now control if a new company (Google) is able to enter a market and access infrastructure?

It appears city leaders in the City of San Jose have somehow lost control of infrastructure that should always be under city control.

Google estimated that 60 percent of its cable network would be underground and 40 percent would be aerial. By preventing pole access to Google, this means more digging and higher costs would be required to provide fiber.

Recently, Google acquired Webpass Inc. Webpass uses wireless technology to provide internet service at a lower start-up cost by avoiding digging up city streets. Webpass wireless involves sending aerial internet data between towers and consumers. It appears Google Fiber is putting additional fiber locations on the back burner to assess the technology which could provide a workaround to digging or pole access.

Current wireless technology is not as high-speed as fiber optic due to reduced bandwidth and increased latency. Still, in areas of San Jose where Google can not gain reasonable access due to the stranglehold by existing ISPs allowed by City leaders; wireless would allow Google to move forward with a hybrid deployment approach of fiber and wireless.

Google Fiber spokeswoman Veronica Navarrete said company officials will continue talks with San Jose about providing internet service, but added that it “takes time” to deploy “the latest technologies in alignment with our product road map, while understanding local considerations and challenges.”

Analyst Joel Espelien of The Diffusion Group said “Digging up streets is definitely not Google’s thing, wireless is definitely much more kind of up their alley.”

San Jose leaders said they’re hopeful Google’s future plans — even if services take a different shape or form — will involve the city, especially after nearly two years of discussions over how to give residents faster connections.

“The fiber ball is entirely in Google’s court,” said city spokesman David Vossbrink. “We’re very optimistic that their plans for extending their high speed broadband system will include San Jose, even if their original schedule gets modified so they can take advantage of technology advances that might be potentially less disruptive”.