Richard Whitt, Director/Managing Counsel, Telecom and Media Policy at Google, Inc. on the closing keynote panel of the recent 10th Annual 2011 Fiber to the Home Conference in Florida, plainly revealed why any possible Fiber to the Home projects in California were summarily dismissed:
“Google prides itself in being a very green company and take steps to be environmentally sound… And yet we identified this issue in California where there is the statute called CEQA [California Environmental Quality Act].
It’s basically a multi agency process reviewing whether any construction project of a certain size has ‘any possibility of an environmental impact’. The basic terms around that are not defined and the process can take months and sometimes years.
Milo [ Milo Medlin, Google's VP of Access Services] identified this for the team early on and said ‘even if we are looking at some places in California that might be suitable properties for this business proposition — I can’t justify it. I have a P&L. We’re not just doing this out of the goodness in our hearts. We’re trying to make a business out of this, we want to prove that the model works. Given the current state of affairs in California, that’s not going to be the case.’
That has sparked some fruitful initial conversations with some of the policy makers in California to identify this. It’s not that we’re trying to avoid environmental standards, we’re trying to find ways to have more certainty and in the process have a process that a company can navigate successfully to move forward with a project.”