updated 01:00 pm EDT, Thu October 21, 2010
Google puts out first 1Gbps fiber through Stanford
Google on Thursday outlined a plan to wire some of Stanford University with 1Gbps fiber optic Internet access. The move will be the first practical implementation of the Google Fiber project and will link about 850 of the school's faculty and staff homes. It's considered a "beta" for the actual Google Fiber rollout and won't interfere with the process of choosing communities for the 50,000 to 500,000 people the 1Gbps speed would reach in the main effort.
The search firm's product lead James Kelly didn't have an estimate for when the Stanford project would be active, but it promised to start burying fiber in early 2011.
Conceived early this year, Google Fiber was designed to gauge the effect of having extremely fast Internet access on usage patterns and to test new features that might only work on such an advanced connection. Most American Internet users have 10Mbps or lower speeds, owing both to the difficulty of spreading modern Internet technology but also US carriers being reluctant to spend the extra money to improve their networks.
A combination of population density and better competition has led countries like Japan, Korea and Sweden to 100Mbps Internet access as relatively common.