The Bauminator

Google Fiber’s Next Speed Target

2/12/2014 3:22 PM

Google and its fiber initiative have helped to set the bar for ISPs with residential broadband speeds that top out at 1 Gbps, but what the company has in mind next will blast that bar into the stratosphere.

Just as cable operators start to get their mitts on DOCSIS 3.0 modems that can produce downstream speed bursts in the neighborhood of 1-Gig, Google already starting to spout off about plans to do ten times that.

Google is working on a next-gen fiber-fed platform that can hit 10 Gbps, CFO Patrick Pichette said during the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet conference, according to USA Today.

"That's where the world is going. It's going to happen," the exec said, noting that Google’s in no mood to wait around, but didn’t say precisely when Google Fiber would be ready to start unleashing such speeds.

Google Fiber’s already deployed in pockets of Kansas City and parts of Provo, Utah, with plans to start connecting homes in Austin, Texas, by mid-year. Pichette said to “stay tuned,” when asked if Google Fiber would be expanding further. So, stay on your toes out there in cable-land.

Cable is already capable of delivering 10-Gig over fiber, though such services are tailored for high-end business customers.

But the industry is also hard at work on technologies that will enable the industry to hit the kind of speeds on the HFC plant that Google is envisioning. Targeted to cable’s all-IP transition while delaying the need to pull fiber all the way to the home, DOCSIS 3.1 is targeting up to 10 Gbps downstream and up to 2 Gbps in the upstream.

CableLabs completed the product specs for 3.1 last fall. The first wave of 3.1 products are expected to emerge later this year, with early deployments to follow sometime in 2015. 

And with Google’s scary new speed target firmly in place, the debate on whether the average consumer actually needs 10-Gigs should be getting underway in about, oh, 12 seconds.

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