Sen. Al Franken is pushing for Google to come to Duluth, Minnesota and wire the whole place for internet. It’s just one of many examples of cities begging Google to come and save them from choppy YouTube videos.
As the FCC debates broadband expansion plans that are beginning to sound like entitlement programs, Google is showing that acting in their own self-interest can have a public benefit:
Google makes its money connecting people with data and showing them ads along the way. Anything that increases the number of people on the internet and the amount of data they seek is good for the company. On most ISPs, YouTube videos can stutter or stop due to low connection speeds, even from “high-speed” providers. One way or another, Google seeks to quicken the net by connecting cities to high-speed fiber optic lines that transmit data with modulated light (updated) rather than the wire-based electrons employed by most ISPs (fiber-optic Verizon Fios [sic] excepted).
That said, these municipalities should remain vigilant. No matter how free the broadband is, there are legitimate concerns about Google’s privacy record.