Fearful Symmetries

Witness a machine turn coffee into pointless ramblings...

19 March, 2010

Stuff White People Like: Google Fiber

So Google wants to deploy fiber to the desktop in one lucky community and Madison is making a pitch. There's even a website by some group where they post photos of people holding up the group's signs saying "I would use Google Fiber".

So who exactly would get the fiber? Are people who can only afford dial-up currently going to be able to get it at an affordable price or will they be left further behind as all those folks who can already afford a 20Mb connection watch their Facebook pages load a nanosecond faster and that bootleg HD copy of Avatar load in just a few minutes?

Detective Cindy Murphy claims to have to deal with "terabytes of data every day at work". I sure hope she was kidding because I'm thinking that she doesn't really deal with the same amount of data that's in the SANs of medium-sized enterprises. Almost all the people at the site above who express their desire for fiber are white people in a white collar office environment. The major exception is this video which makes the case that various non-profits would greatly benefit from it.

A recent survey found that "People with higher rates of broadband access tend to be younger, white or Asian, highly-educated, married, and with higher incomes, while those with no broadband are often seniors or minorities, less educated, and living in non-family households with lower incomes or unemployed." So who do you think is going to be getting fiber to their desktops?

I hope we here in Madison get Google's fiber but I also hope that it brings forward a discussion about those who do not have Internet access (which includes people who can afford it but don't want it) and those who cannot afford a broadband connection. One out of every two students in Madison public schools qualifies for a reduced-price or free lunch. Are these kids going home to broadband Internet connections? Does it matter if there are people without Internet access here in Madison who still wouldn't have it even if Google laid fiber?

Like I said, I'm rooting for the home squad here. But I also hope that fiber to the desktop would actually serve a purpose other than simply allowing people who can already afford the fastest broadband currently available to download their mp3s faster.
|| Palmer, 2:56 PM


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