Three Potential Benefits from Google’s Big Fiber Push
1) Telemedicine really takes off. Super fast connectivity means high-fidelity video and audio is a checkbox,not something that requires special performance tuning and quality-of-service management. This type of superior connectivity will make it far easier for doctors to capture visual and data from patients in their homes. We are only now starting to really understand how to use the Internet for this type of data for health purposes, from EKG measurement jackets to Visual and to fine-grained imaging to track blood oxygenation. Adding fast broadband makes it a much easier thing to deliver.
2) Teleworking regains steam. While Marissa and others may be cracking down on remote work situations, many workers feel that a healthy mix of home and office work is the best way to actually be productive. Because so many offices use WiFi as their primary means of connectivity, the office WiFi is often a bottleneck. When users become accustomed to light-speed fiber at home, using the Internet in the office will be truly painful. (I’ve already heard this from Verizon FiOS users and Google Fiber users in Kansas City). It’s the flip side of the consumerization of the enterprise and Google will give you a better network at home than in your cube.
3) The Internet of Things Goes Wild. Google has already shown, with the $3.2 billion Nest purchase, that it takes the IoT very seriously. The Nest is potentially the IoT platform for the future. Now fast Google Fiber plus cheap cameras and sensors could put IoT on steroids and allow us to view our homes from every angle imaginable – and capture that data for security or collaboration. The same thing that Netflix does – stream video – is what many pieces of IoT could start to do in the near future. Streaming fridge camera? Yes, would love that. Video capture of whether a pet has eaten their food? Beautiful. How about ability to do 411 video calls to give first responders a preview of what’s happening? All of this eats bandwidth but bandwith isn’t really a problem once you go to pure fiber-to-the-home (like Google is doing).
These are obviously speculative views on the import of the big fiber push. I won’t even go into the politics of the situation, which is rather complex. As a user, though, I am holding my breath for this type of speed boost. Unfortunately, I live near San Francisco and we’re not on the list…yet.