Google Looking to Run Pay TV Trial: Report

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF. —Google is considering
delivering a subscription TV service over its experimental
fiber-to-the-home network in Kansas
City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., sometime next
year, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The online search giant has approached
media companies including The Walt Disney
Co, Time Warner Inc. and Discovery Communications
about carrying TV channels on the
test network, according to the Journal, citing
unnamed sources. However, the talks were described
as “exploratory” at this juncture.

Google selected Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas
City, Mo., as the cities where it will fund
the buildout of a fiber-to-the-home network delivering
speeds of 1 Gigabit per second — far
beyond what is available to most residential
broadband users.

The Kansas City test network is expected to
go live in early 2012. Google has described the
“Think Big With a Gig” initiative as an “experiment”
to try to identify and develop applications
that can take advantage of ultra-high-speed
Internet. A 1 Gbps network would have ample
headroom for an IPTV service.

Google in September hired former cable TV
executive Jeremy Stern, who has led the discussions
with cable programmers.

Stern was partner with telecom-oriented
law firm Cole, Raywid & Braverman LLP. In the
1990s, he headed legal affairs for MediaOne
(formerly Continental Cablevision), which is
now part of Comcast. He also worked for the
National Cable & Telecommunications Association
in the ’80s and ’90s working on antipiracy
projects and state legislative and regulatory