Cable Operators

Google Calls Cable Guy

12/20/2010 12:01 AM Eastern

Google has turned to one of
cable’s original broadband gurus — Milo
Medin — to run its experimental fiber project.

At the same time, the company has
pushed off the selection of where it will deploy
a 1 Gigabit-per-second fiber network
or networks until next year. Medin, former
chief technology officer and co-founder of
the cable industry’s ill-fated @Home Network
venture, announced his appointment
as Google’s vice president of access services
and the delay in a blog posting last week.

“We had planned to announce our selected
community or communities by the end
of this year, but the level of interest was incredible
— nearly 1,100 communities across
the country responded to our announcement
— and exceeded our expectations,”
Medin wrote. “While we’re moving ahead
full steam on this project, we’re not quite
ready to make that announcement.”

Medin was most recently chairman
and chief technology officer of M2Z Networks,
a provider of wireless broadband
Internet connectivity services based in
Silicon Valley.

But he’s better known as one of the
founders of the @Home venture, formed
in 1996 with John Malone’s Tele-Communications
Inc., Comcast, Cox Communications
and William Randolph Hearst III.
The company, which acquired Web portal
Excite, filed for bankruptcy in September
2001. Its high-speed-fiber network was
subsequently sold to AT&T and some 1,350
Excite@Home employees were laid off .

In February 2010, Google announced
“ Think Big
With a Gig,”
a contest to
fund the buildout
of a 1-Gbps
fiber-to-thehome
network
or networks
that will serve
between 50,000
to 500,000 people.
Google’s
aim with the
science project
is to demonstrate
what’s
possible with
an ultra-highspeed
network
capable of handling
future
bandwidth-hungry applications.

It’s also a ploy to persuade the Federal
Communications Commission and other
policymakers that the government should
encourage deployment of bigger broadband
pipes.

To date, Google has been experimenting
with new fiber deployment technologies
on its campus in Mountain View,
Calif., and announced a “beta” network
to connect 850 residences at Stanford
University.

Over the past year, telcos and cable companies
have been testing 1-Gbps Internet
connections and Verizon has even shown
10-Gbps links over its FiOS network. Today,
though, such speeds aren’t useful for
residential users on the open Internet.

March