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Google Fiber policies updated to allow personal servers, but small businesses still left out

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Gallery Photo: Google Fiber + TV hardware hands-on photos
Gallery Photo: Google Fiber + TV hardware hands-on photos

Google initially forbid customers using its high-speed Google Fiber internet service from operating servers inside their home. Despite arguing that the practice was an "industry standard," the company's decision was met with fierce criticism from net neutrality advocates and the EFF. But now it appears that Google is quietly revising its policy — at least to some extent. A recently updated Acceptable Use Policy that outlines how consumers may "use Google Fiber properly" now makes clear that use of personal servers is permitted, so long as it's not for any commercial purposes.

Google had already given the go-ahead for personal servers previously, but now the fine print has been altered to reflect the company's relaxed stance. It's an issue that many users are passionate about: earlier this month, one angry consumer protested outside the convention center where Google was holding Fiber sign-up events in Provo, Utah.

According to Google, scenarios that are allowed include "using virtual private networks (VPN) to access services in your home and using hardware or applications that include server capabilities for uses like multiplayer gaming, video-conferencing, and home security." That's sure to please consumers, but likely comes as a disappointment to small businesses hoping to use Google's gigabit connection for their own servers. For now, commercial servers remain prohibited, but Google says that a solution is in the works. "For now, we’re extremely focused on bringing Fiber to all of the residents who are already signed up and waiting for service," writes Michael Slinger, director of Google Fiber business operations. "We will have more information about our small business product in the future."