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What does Google broadband mean for the IT industry?

Google announced plans to “build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States.”  The gigabit fiber broadband service is expected to be available at “a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people,” according to Google’s official blog post on the subject

 The goal of this ambitious project is to foster development of new bandwidth intensive applications, to experiment with new broadband deployment strategies and to provide “an open, non-discriminatory and transparent” environment for the above.
 
From a consumer perspective, more available bandwidth and more competition for residential broadband service is simply better.  But what does this move signal for the information technology industry? 
 
Google’s announcements and initiatives tend to put incumbent providers on high alert and can drive increased competition in a given sector even before the switch is thrown.  Google’s move into broadband could motivate existing providers to lower their prices or raise their consumer bandwidth floors and ceilings to stay competitive.
 
Businesses that rely on broadband to interact with customers or to deliver products directly to end-users could see a huge benefit from rising connection speeds.  The speed and quality of services like online file storage and backup, audio and video content streaming, conference calling and video conferencing will probably see the most immediate benefit of increased bandwidth. 
 
Power users like online gamers and teleworkers will likely be among the first in line to get the next generation of broadband, but the next generation of broadband users won’t be far behind.  Remote monitoring and telemedicine might prove attractive to aging baby boomers and their caregivers.  Distance learning could boost enrollment in online universities. 

Personal file sharing and social media may become irresistible to an even larger group of young consumers.  On-demand video delivery could quickly replace the one-way model that remains prevalent today.  Even simple web browsing and email would benefit from a cheaper, faster connection - driving offline audiences to get online.
 
There are also implications for various IT infrastructure vendors.  Someone has to provide and install the fiber, switches and home hardware required for everything to work.  The companies that own the software and technologies, manufacture and install the hardware, and configure and troubleshoot the network will benefit in one way or another. 
 
Those are some of the things we can safely predict now.  But perhaps more significant will be the new products, services, behaviors and business opportunities that develop with better Internet access.  Fast, inexpensive broadband is fertile ground for innovation, and the seed that could change everything may have already been planted. 

CompTIA will be looking for promising sprouts to nurture.  Let us know what pops up in your gardens!

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With more than 2,000 members, 3,000 academic and training partners and tens of thousands of registered users spanning the entire information communications and technology (ICT) industry, CompTIA has become a leading voice for the technology ecosystem.

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