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Reactions Pour In Following Google Broadband Announcement

Google's announcement that it was planning to build some test-bed high-speed broadband networks around the country drew a flurry of responses from a snowed-in Washington, D.C.

"Google's announcement today amounts to a nationwide competition for communities to step up and make the case for what a next generation network could do for them and then show America what is possible," said Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. ""Google is not the only company with the know-how and capacity to build this kind of network, but somebody had to go first," he said. "Maybe network providers with different ideas for what is possible will step up as well. Either way, we may finally see in America what a first class, neutral platform can mean for unleashing innovation, strengthening community institutions, and generating economic activity."

Ben Scott, policy director of Free Press, pointed out that Verizon was already delivering fiber to the home. "Google's proposed experiment with building ultra-fast, open broadband pipelines in a handful of communities follows a trail already blazed by Verizon's FiOS network," he said, "which has fiber optic cables capable of speeds comparable to what Google proposes.

"The FCC should adopt these high standards and aspirational goals when it delivers the National Broadband Plan to Congress in March," he said.

""Google is to be commended on announcing up front that the network will be open to other service providers and will be operated on a neutral, non-discriminatory basis -- as all networks should be," said GiGi Sohn, president of Public Knowledge. "We hope that all sectors of the telecommunications industry will work together to make the project a success, and that lessons learned on deployment, construction techniques applications will be widely shared. "

Andrew Schwartzman, President of Media Access Project said it was an opportunity to
"demonstrate the effectiveness of a network-neutral, open access broadband network operating at world-class speeds."

That is undoubtedly Google's aim given that it has been pushing the FCC to require higher speeds and open networks as part of its broadband plan due to Congress March 17.

"We look forward to learning more about Google's broadband experiment in the handful of trial locations they are planning," said National Cable & Telecommunications Association spokesman Brian Dietz. "The cable industry has invested $161 billion over the past 13 years to build a nationwide broadband infrastructure that is available to 92 percent of U.S. homes, and we will continue to invest billions more to continually improve the speed and performance of our networks and provide tens of millions of consumers with the best possible broadband experience."