After spending recent months experimenting on ways to reduce rollout costs and accelerate deployment, Google Fiber expects to introduce its service to more cities later this year, the company's recently named CEO told Fiber Connect 2017 attendees this morning.
And increasingly, those subscribers rely on the ISP for broadband access but not content, said Greg McCray, who today celebrated his three-month anniversary as head of Google Fiber Inc. In fact, between 60% and 70% of its new subscribers purchase Internet-only services, he said. That's good news for Google Fiber, given the cost of content (and the company's relationship with YouTube).
"We've seen a big rise, just in the last few months, of people choosing just our Internet-only offering, just wanting 1,000 megabits then they will choose their own over-the-top streaming services where they can personalize and package it to their viewing, their entertainment needs," said McCray. "There's a definite trend that consumers want to be able to pick and choose and package things and not be told by service providers how to do it. We're always going to offer what our consumers want and we already have a linear TV offering, but I expect we're going to see over-the-top be a much bigger player and I think that's good for consumers and that will help manage cost of video content a lot better."
Dialing in on details
Google Fiber -- which recently unveiled a partnership with Huntsville, Ala. -- has spent the past several months testing new deployment techniques designed to curtail the expense and time associated with fiber rollouts, McCray said.
"As an example we're doing a lot in shallow trenching so we don't have to worry about the poles, we don't have to go three or four feet boring underground. We've been doing narrow trenching," he added. "We've been working with our fiber cities, with the communities and city managers, getting permits and trials much, much, much faster and with a lot less disruption to the neighborhoods and communities."
The company also is reviewing wireless technologies to resolve last-mile or last-yard complexities, said McCray. Google Fiber is testing out these approaches in its existing fiber cities, fine-tuning the methods and tools, before undertaking new subscriber regions later this year, he said.
In addition, Google Fiber is focusing on self-installation so it reduces technicians' time and cost and further enhances customer satisfaction.
"As you know, much of the industry grew up in a monopolistic period. You could build things, take your time and get it done and be sure you were going to get your cost-plus back," said McCray. "We're in a competitive over-building environment and we need to come up with some newer techniques -- and we are. That's what we're attacking, and we're experimenting in different markets for cost-reduction, speed and less disruption to the community."
Like its competitors, Google Fiber also hopes the Federal Communications Commission will make available one-touch make-ready rules, trim bureaucracy and speed up pole attachments, he noted.
— Alison Diana, Editor, UBB2020. Follow us on Twitter @UBB2020 or @alisoncdiana.