Google Fiber isn't widely available, but it is widely known for one thing — offering blazing fast service: Google touts Fiber as being about 100 times faster than an American's average wired broadband. And while surfing the web that quickly might sound enticing, Comcast doesn't believe that its subscribers need a connection that speedy. In an editorial for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Comcast executive vice president David L. Cohen writes that the allure of Google Fiber's gigabit service doesn't match the needs or capabilities of online Americans.
"For some, the discussion about the broadband Internet seems to begin and end on the issue of 'gigabit' access," Cohen says, in a nod to Google Fiber. "The issue with such speed is really more about demand than supply. Our business customers can already order 10-gig connections. Most websites can't deliver content as fast as current networks move, and most US homes have routers that can't support the speed already available to the home." Essentially, Choen argues that even if Comcast were to deliver web service as fast as Google Fiber's 1,000 Mbps downloads and uploads, most customers wouldn't be able to realize those speeds because they've got the wrong equipement at home.
Comcast says you can't handle the speed, Time Warner says you don't want it
Cohen, however, seems to have forgotten to mention that, in the case of Google Fiber, Google supplies routers that enable customers to reach the speeds it promises. Still, he says that "as consumer demand grows for faster speeds, a competitive marketplace of wired and wireless broadband providers will be ready to serve it." Cohen also isn't the first major telecommunications executive to come out questioning the hype surrounding Google Fiber and other gigabit services. In February, Time Warner Cable said there's no consumer demand for gigabit internet speeds and that it's "in the business of delivering what consumers want." Despite the comments, whenever it believes that its customers do want gigabit broadband, the company will likely be ready: last year, Time Warner offered $50 gift cards to Kansas City employees who would share "tips, rumors and rumblings" about Google Fiber during its debut build out.