Google Fiber officially debuted last week in the Kansas City area after a long testing phase as the Internet giant has begun taking pre-registrations. In essence, Google is taking telco and cable companies head on with a value proposition to build a super fast (allegedly 100 times faster than any other U.S. ISP’s average broadband speeds) fiber infrastructure in return for a $300 installation fee, which can be paid at once or in $25 installments, per household. Google then complements the fiber solution with three service package options.
The success of the mobile phone market over the past 10 to 15 years came at the clear expense of the landline market. The insipient creep of cord-cutting behavior coupled with the younger generation that never saw the point of having a cord, has resulted in lower landline numbers and pretty much a universal agreement that the landline will fade, if not to obscurity then at least to a dusty corner of the living room.
When MTV played the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” in 1981 it launched a new era of pay television. Cable TV was no longer Community Antenna TV (CATV); now there were—or soon would be—as Bruce Springsteen put it, “57 channels and nothin’ on.”
In announcing a new name, new direction, and new marketing strategy that puts more emphasis on services and content and less on low price, Dish did a remarkably good job of obscuring a salient point; the digital divide still exists, and because it does a less-than-enthralling broadband offer looks like it should have legs. Dish used CES to promote a whole-home Kangaroo-themed client-server set-top combo (Hopper and its sidekick Joey) with tuners that can handle 6 HD recordings at once and a hard drive deep enough to swallow 2,000 hours of HD programming in a single gulp.
In the past, carriers and Internet service providers had multiple tools to ensure that I remained a loyal citizen of their domain. In the early days of the Internet, the easiest way to get an email address was from my service provider, and once I began to use and distribute this email address, the thought of moving to an alternative broadband provider was delayed by the thought of how painful it would be to switch my email address.