In what Google is calling its "first “beta” deployment to real customers", the company will be rolling out the 1Gbps fiber connections to Stanford's Residential Subdivision that had cities renaming themselves and mayors shrinking their nether regions to obtain for their residents. The Residential Subdivision consists of about 850 faculty- and staff-owned homes on campus and I now realize that when I visited Stanford before ultimately settling on a college, I made quite a mistake in choosing to head for the east coast.
Snarky remarks aside, this actually represents a no-brainer partnership for both Stanford and Google. Google was quick to point out that the Stanford deployment in no way affects the community selection process it will conclude this year, when it selects as many as half a million homes to build out gigabit fiber connections. Rather, this is an opportunity for Google to "experiment with new fiber technologies" in a small, controlled environment close to its Mountain View headquarters.
According to Google, Stanford was particularly open to the antics of a bunch of Google engineers running amuck on its streets (I'm paraphrasing, of course). Add that to the open layout of the streets and the likelihood that residents will make full use of new broadband capabilities, often in support of their work and research, and Stanford was an obvious choice for the beta. As eWeek put it,
It certainly doesn’t hurt that Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin created Google at Stanford, which later invested in the project that would become the world's leading search engine.
Well, I guess there's that, too.
Regardless, this is an important test from both a logistical and technical standpoint and can happen outside the territorial issues that Google will most likely experience with existing ISPs. Again, eWeek hit the nail on the head:
The test will allow Google to play with its new fiber optic technologies, normally the purview of broadband carriers such as Verizon, Comcast and AT&T, as well as the networking gear providers who make the equipment.
Anyway it goes, I'd still have to buy and aggregate 330 of the DSL lines I have available to me to experience what the folks at Stanford will get later next year. Where was that National Broadband Plan again?