Google's Smoking-Fast Fiber Network

The search giant vows to beat cable and telecom companies on speed
Typography by Matt Owens/Volumeone; Oz characters: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

The forward march of technology has yielded faster, cheaper computers and online services, but Internet access has crept along. While they’ve upgraded their systems, service providers have resisted committing the massive capital needed to entirely replace their networks of coaxial cable and twisted copper. “For the first time since the beginning of the commercial Internet, we don’t have a national wireline provider who says it is going to build a current network that is vastly better,” says Blair Levin, a fellow at the Aspen Institute and a former lawyer for the Federal Communications Commission. Enter Google, whose ambitious plans, besides driverless cars and high-tech glasses, include stringing high-speed fiber-optic cable directly to homes and businesses.

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