Want Fiber? Do more to get it, Google exec tells cities

Google has a tip for those who want more high-speed internet options: tell your town to get rid of its fax machine, touch up its maps and streamline the permitting process.

“If you make it easy, we will come. If you make it hard, enjoy your Time Warner Cable,” Milo Medin, VP of Access Services at Google Fiber told a Washington D.C. audience on Tuesday.

Medin cited byzantine permission processes (including a fetish for faxes) and an inability to provide accurate information about infrastructure as prime reasons that hurt some cities’ chances to attract new broadband services.

Currently, Google Fiber is available in Austin, Kansas City and Provo, Utah, while the company is in the process of building out its gigabit-to-the home service in the southern cities Charlotte, Atlanta, and Nashville, and in towns in the Raleigh-Durham area.

It’s unclear though if bumbling bureaucracies are all that’s holding back Google, which has talked a big game about its Fiber networks, but has been slow to roll them out.

Medin, who was speaking on a panel about network deployment, added that some markets in the U.S. are simply uneconomic for internet providers to enter, and that local telephone companies are reluctant to grant access to key telephone pole infrastructure.

He also noted that some owners of multi-unit buildings, where economics of scale are easily available, won’t allow entities like Google Fiber access in the first place.

The upshot for the foreseeable future is a patchwork of different broadband speeds across the country as competitors flock to easy-access markets, while leaving many millions of others (including me in Brooklyn) stuck with monopoly service.

According to Cogent CEO Dave Schaeffer, who also spoke on the panel, this situation will require a future wave of policy inducements to produce more broadband offerings.

Google still cagey on FCC net neutrality rules

The panel’s moderator, Ryan Knutson of the Wall Street Journal, tried to pin down Medin on Google’s position on imminent Title II rules, which will reclassify broadband providers as common carriers. But Medin, who ceded his role leading Google Fiber last year, wouldn’t bite.

Medin instead offered platitudes about the virtues of the open internet, without addressing a curious contradiction at the heart of Google’s policy position: the company has been using its trade associations, including Comptel and the Internet Association, to put a big thumb on the scale in favor of Title II rules, yet still won’t support them directly.

Some speculate that Google’s Fiber ambitions are playing a role in this hedge, though others close to the company have dismissed this theory. In late December, Google did tell the FCC in an official filing that, in the event the agency does impose Title II, it should do so in a way that would require incumbents to give access to their utility poles.

Another member of the panel, Michael Weidman, appeared lukewarm about the Title II proposal and warned of agency overreach.

“I can see a two page summary turning into 300 pages of regulation,” said Weidman, CEO of LS Networks, which provides broadband services to towns in the Pacific Northwest.

The panel was part of an event titled the Comptel Competition and Innovation Summit. It was one more piece of a furious burst of political jockeying ahead of the two key FCC votes, set for Thursday, about the Title II rules and on a plan to give cities more freedom to build broadband.

This story was clarified at 4:10pm on Wednesday to note Google Fiber is coming to towns in the Raleigh Durham area, not “Raleigh Durham”

Having problems with your Netflix? You can blame Verizon

Verizon is locked in a head-butting battle with Cogent Communications, a large bandwidth provider. The cause for these issues: Netflix, one of Internet’s killer applications that has been growing its share of the network. Bad news for Verizon customers: Netflix may not work as well.

Optical Cable Cuts Disrupt Internet Service in India & the Middle East

Monday Update: Over the weekend repair crews were dispatched for all three cables. Engineers arrived at the SEA-ME-WE3 and SEA-ME-WE4 cables on Sunday. India, Singapore, and about 80 percent of Egypt (according to the Egyptian government) regained internet service. Reliance said it expects the FLAG cable break to be repaired this week. The cause of the cuts remains unclear.

Update: Research firm TeleGeography emailed us that three international submarine cables in the Mediterranean Sea were damaged today, causing disruptions to internet and phone traffic in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India and all of the Gulf states. TeleGeography pinpoints the faults  between Tunisia and Italy, and claims the damaged cables are the FLAG Europe-Asia cable, operated by Reliance Globalcom, and two consortium cables, SeaMeWe-3 and SeaMeWe-4 owned jointly by several telecommunications companies. From the TeleGeography statement:

The current series of faults is reminiscent of the submarine cable faults that occurred in January 2008. Today’s events have the potential to create worse disruptions: while the January 2008 accidents broke two of the three cables connecting Europe with Asia via the Middle East, Friday’s cable failures have caused faults on all three. France Telecom projects that service on all cables will be restored by December 31. Until then, many carriers in the Middle East and South Asia will need to route their European traffic around the globe, through South East Asia and across the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

cable_breaks_dec08 It’s unknown if the Malta cable problems are related to these cuts, perhaps from a weather or seismic event. However in the online world the cuts are certainly related in how they will make it that much slower or impossible for users to connect around the world. (Malta cable cut report published earlier follows.)

Read More about Optical Cable Cuts Disrupt Internet Service in India & the Middle East

Sprint, Cogent Reconnect Networks For Now

Sprint (s FON) and Cogent networks are back talking to each other — at least temporarily. After the two companies severed networks on October 30, there has been wide spread criticism of the severing of the networks.

Wholesale Internet Bandwidth Prices Keep Falling

Sure it’s not like back in the early 2000s, when those crooks from Enron were driving the prices of bandwidth down into the ground, but even today prices on Internet bandwidth continue to fall. If you are a consumer, however, there’s a good chance you’re wondering what I’m talking about — after all, broadband service providers like Comcast and Time Warner are talking about putting the meter on the bandwidth they serve up to residential subscribers.

What I’m talking about is wholesale Internet bandwidth that is sold to Internet services providers (ISPs) and content companies like Yahoo and Google. This is called IP Transit and it is sold at a rate of “per megabit per second per month” and often requires a monthly bandwidth commitment. Cogent Communications, Level 3 Communications, Tata Communications, Global Crossing and AT&T are some of the more well-known IP Transit providers.

Today research firm Telegeography came out with a report that shows the price of wholesale Internet access (IP transit), while varied around the globe, are still in decline. Here are some facts. Read More about Wholesale Internet Bandwidth Prices Keep Falling

The Telia-Cogent Spat Could Ruin the Web For Many

Updated: Swedish telecom operator Telia and U.S.-based connectivity provider Cogent Communications have gotten into an ugly spat and have stopped interconnecting, according to some of my sources in the telecom business. What this essentially means is that Telia’s DSL customers could have trouble seeing Cogent-connected web services. Telia, now part of TeliaSonera is one of the largest networks in Europe.

The bickering could be because one of the two parties feel they need to be paid for the traffic they are sending. I am looking into this and have emails out to all my sources in the bandwidth business, and will update accordingly. (If you have any information, drop me a line.)

Cogent had previously gotten into a slugfest with Level 3 Communications. Cogent’s stance towards Telia is hypocritical. Here is a press release they issued back in 2005 when complaining about Level3. As a reader points out, Cogent has been involved in such spats with other carriers as well. OpenTransit (France Telecom), Teleglobe, ATDN are some of those who have had Cogent issues.

This is a letter Telia sent to its customers:

Dear Customer,

We would like to give you the following information:

Cogent has decided not to exchange traffic directly with TeliaSonera’s AS 1299 or indirectly with AS 1299 through a third-party provider. As a result, Cogent has partitioned the Internet and disrupted the flow of traffic between Cogent and TeliaSonera customers.

While this has a negative impact on some users of the Internet, this effect is the result of Cogent’s decision and is unfortunately beyond TeliaSonera’s control. Until Cogent rectifies this situation, TeliaSonera customers experiencing any difficulty reaching Cogent’s network can continue to purchase IP Transit from TeliaSonera along with another Tier 1 provider. This will fix the immediate problem and ensure optimal connectivity going forward.

We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused…

If you have further concerns, please address your commercial contact at TeliaSonera

Updated with inputs from our readers. Thanks guys