95959google Happened Seven Years Ago Today

In early 2010, Google announced that it was going to pick one city and build a gigabit fiber optic internet network there. Google had no idea that it would spark a pent-up demand for better and reliable internet service across the country. The telcos (AT&T, Verizon) and cable companies (Comcast, Time Warner) were monopolies that couldn’t care less about what was truly needed. (And still don’t.) Over 1,100 municipalities applied to Google’s Fiber for Communities initiative. It took Google by surprise.

Spiral Internet jumped in from the start, walking across the street to City Hall on the day of that announcement to meet with then Nevada City City Manager, Gene Albaugh. We asked if we could apply on behalf of Nevada City. His response was a resounding, “Yes!”

The event, and then video that were produced for that initiative, let us know that Nevada County wanted much faster internet.  The promotion that came out of 95959google was outstanding. You can take a short trip back in time to remember what happened as a result of 95959google.com  At Spiral, we knew Google would never pick us, but we also knew that we could build our own (and actually as it is turning out) better network.

Last month, Alphabet (Google’s new parent company) announced that it was putting a pause on deploying new fiber optic networks. Susan Crawford (author of “Captive Audience” and one of our heroes) today posted “Google Fiber Was Doomed From the Start” — an article on BackChannel that provides some good insight into why Google Fiber was going to sputter and die. Definitely worth reading.

We know that it is expensive and time-consuming to build new fiber optic networks. It takes insight and fortitude to make it happen and go the course. We also know that the communities that go forward with these builds will prosper in ways that we can, now, only imagine. Large telcos, cable companies and corporations that are accustomed to astronomical profits year after year, cannot see the benefit of investing in long-term sustainable projects. But smaller regionally-based ISPs and municipalities do see that value. 

Once Spiral breaks ground later this year — and residences and businesses begin to have access to unlimited symmetrical gigabit internet access — we will see that magic begin to transpire. In hindsight, we’re glad Google didn’t pick Nevada County. And that we did.

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Spiral’s Gigabit Service Sign-ups Begin

Starting today, you can now sign up and make a deposit for Spiral’s gigabit 100% fiber optic internet network service if you are located in our “Service Area A” (first phase that was funded). We changed to new crowd sourcing software (COS Service Zones from Sweden), so you will also be able to “map yourself” for future phases in western Nevada County. We plan to break ground and start construction in late spring / early summer. Happy New Year! http://www.spiral.com/signup

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Spiral Internet and Google’s Exit from Fiber

You may have read the recent announcement that Alphabet (now the parent company of Google) was stopping the rollout of Google Fiber’s gigabit internet networks. First of all, this announcement – in no way, shape or form – affects Spiral Internet’s gigabit 100% fiber optic internet network here in Nevada County. Our project was never connected to Google. Ever. We are moving ahead in a great way, expecting to break ground in spring of next year.

You also may remember that we did use Google’s announcement in 2010 to host a rally, parade and party. We wanted to see if there was interest here for this kind of network. Well, if you attended the event in March 2010, then you know that a nerve had been hit. Our community was ecstatic. If you didn’t, then it is worth watching the video we created at 95959google. We knew all along that Google would choose large metropolitan areas to deploy its networks. And it did. Fiber optic networks in Kansas City, Austin, and Provo are all under construction.

So, why did Alphabet decide to exit? The Washington Post has a good analysis in an article it posted earlier this week. In summary, Google Fiber was never going to be the cash cow that Google “search” had become. In order to bring in the returns expected by shareholders, there is no question that Alphabet needed to trim those (now separate) companies that were not highly profitable.

We don’t agree with the author that “… it may have been just a little ahead of its time …”. But we do agree that the “big incumbents made Google’s job harder,” as it chose cities where existing cable providers already offered the fastest speeds available – albeit not gigabit, and not over 100% fiber optic infrastructure. Spiral is building where cable internet is not available here.

The good news is that that hundreds of local/regional internet service providers and municipalities across the country, are constructing gigabit fiber optic internet networks. This is a direct result of Google Fiber’s brazen declaration in 2010 that symmetrical gigabit internet speeds are essential in our communities; much to the chagrin of the large telcos and cable providers.

The much better news is that building and offering service over gigabit fiber networks is a solid business model for providers like Spiral Internet. As a local company that owns its network, we will be able to bring customers exactly what they want in real time.

Say, for instance, the Nevada County Association of Realtors is conducting a workshop for 100 Realtors at its office. For a two-hour period, each person will need to be online. From our office, we can easily throttle up access from 1 Gbps (gigabits per second) symmetrical (downstream/upstream) to 10 or 20 Gbps. Bingo. Everyone has ultra-fast access, so the workshop training can proceed smoothly.

This is only one example of many exciting uses of Spiral’s new ultra fast network. Early on we said, “our future is bright.” It’s no longer in the future. It’s happening. Now.

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