The Need For Speed

The Need For Speed

DC had another one of our classic snowstorms yesterday.  The predictions were higher than the reality, pretty typical for this region, but the mess of snow, sleet and freezing rain was certainly enough to keep people off the roads and schools and offices closed for the day.

Remember when a snow day meant that you dug the sled or saucer out of the garage and took the kids to find a hill with enough vertical for sledding?  Or when you dug out the chocolate chip cookie recipe and dusted off your baking pans?  Or when you woke up to a winter wonderland and rolled back over and went back to sleep? (Hmmmm – I’ve been too long with either kids or dogs or both to ever remember that one). Either way, in the age of always being connected, those days are gone.  Now a snow day is simply a day in the virtual office with a different view. Of course, my view was pretty comfy and included a dog hanging around at my feet.

But as I plowed ahead with IPad and IPhone in hand, Don was in the family room on his two laptops and holding conference calls on his IPhone speakers.  It got me thinking that if we chose to throw a streaming Netflix show into the mix, it was good that we had a fiber broadband product in our home that allowed for all of the capacity that we were using today.  I had recently upgraded our package and my provider was only too happy to make that upgrade super easy to do…another benefit of fiber since all it took was a click of the computer mouse to select the next package.

But all of that got me thinking when I saw the news this morning that Google Fiber is leaving their Louisville market.  Cited by some media as Google Fiber’s biggest failure, the company will turn off service after trying some new technology that led to fiber installation failures and now the consumers are faced with returning to the other large provider with slower service and higher speeds.  Aside from the trenching snafus that Google faced, it also continues to face the challenge of providing a high value product in competitive markets because frankly the costs are high and trying shortcuts can lead to even higher costs.  However, I admire their recognition that fiber is the future-proof technology of choice and wonder what would have been the market outcome had they been able to negotiate pole attachments in their market.  We’ll certainly be seeing more innovative efforts by carriers in the near future and hopefully can glean some “lessons learned” as innovation tries to match demand.



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