In Berkeleyside’s previous coverage of Google’s experimental fiber network plans, we’ve noted that the Mountain View-based search giant has been vague about its exact plans.

The deadline for Google’s request for information (RFI) passed on Friday. Google  announced that the scheme attracted 1,100 community responses and 194,000 individual responses. The map above shows where the responses were from four hours before the final deadline. Google has said that it hopes to cover between 50,000 and 500,000 people with the experiment. That could be in one city, or in several smaller communities.

Google now needs to sift through the RFIs:

So what’s next? Over the coming months, we’ll be reviewing the responses to determine where to build. As we narrow down our choices, we’ll be conducting site visits, meeting with local officials and consulting with third-party organizations. Based on a rigorous review of the data, we will announce our target community or communities by the end of the year.

To put Google’s efforts to provide an experimental, 1 gigabit per second network into perspective, the Federal Communications Commission (run by an ex-Googler) recently announced its National Broadband Plan. The goal is to have 4 megabits per second (1-25th of the Google experiment) universally available by 2020. As some commentators have pointed out, on a global scale that’s a pretty unambitious target.

Lance Knobel

Lance Knobel (co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine in Britain,...

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  1. South Korea is about the size of Indiana, with the population density of New Jersey — making it just a little bit easier to build out a national network. The FCC plan deals with standards for our entire geography, not just the dense parts.

  2. Lance, the paragraph you cite does make the assertion that the goals are not “aggressive” by global standards but the paragraph that follows immediately and explicitly abandons that point.

    And for good reason, because it is indefensible.

    For example, the paragraph that you site contrasts the ubiquitous bandwidth goals for the U.S. with those of S. Korea, comparing only the Mbps figures. One might also want to pause to consider the contrasting geographic, cultural, and economic situations. By analogy, I’d guess that the ubiquitous bandwidth goals from the FCC pale in comparison to the bandwidth available at, say, Bill Gates’ house. Should we now say “Well, if Gates can do it, we’re just slacking if we don’t get the whole country up to that level.”?

    The buried lede in the article you linked to is the sentence in the third paragraph that says “The big, big missing element is competition, which is hardly mentioned in the report.” The main point of the article pertains to the so-called network neutrality debate. To that debate, it adds little other than to note that Ms. Scola takes a vaguely defined side in that debate and is disappointed that the FCC plan did not in and of itself secure victory for her side. If you’re interested in the net neutrality issues, I suggest to you going closer to primary sources — you should subscribe to Dave Farber’s “Interesting Persons” mailing list. There you will find commentary from several of the architects of the Internet and people close to them and their intellectual progeny, many of whom have a keen sense of the interaction between technical infrastructure and the general economy and political environment.

    Looking it over, Ms. Scola’s blog has some interesting content to be sure – but the particular article you are drawing on is not her finest moment. It’s second-hand and poorly informed rumour and innuendo. And it does not seriously try to argue the “unambitious by global standards” point (and it could not if it tried).