Laying fiber is, it turns out, pretty expensive. That’s one reason why expansion of Google Fiber’s ambitious project to bring ultrafast internet to U.S. cities around has been placed on hold. The company has spent spent hundreds of millions of dollars laying fiber-optic cablesto bring Internet service as much as 100 times faster than average high-speed wireless to customers in six cities so far.
I don’t agree that Google is stopping because of costs and reliability problems. I see that 5G networking will delay the need for fibre in the ground and this is much more desirable solution.
- Google wants more bandwidth available at a cheaper price. Its driving US carriers to compete hard.
- Google is fighting a long game of attrition with those same carriers who are using fair means and foul to prevent the rollout. Lawsuits, local councils, access restrictions to right of way are just a few.
- Digging cable into the ground is expensive – typically $250-500 per metre. It takes many years to get a return on the investment (10-20 years is common).
- 5G is designed and highly likely to deliver a mobile broadband. Importantly, 5G looks like it will arrive soon (around 2020 with pilots starting next year). I would make more sense for Google to stop rolling out fibre and put efforts into wireless.
- 5G will be cheaper and more flexible is many way than fibre.
- Google can have less hassle deploying 5G base stations by becoming a wireless carrier.
- Finally, 5G from existing carriers will reduce the need for faster networks for consumers.