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Google offers MV better internet access

Original post made on Feb 19, 2014

The gifts from Google just keep coming this month. Last week it was the restoration of Moffett Field's landmark Hangar One. This week it's ultra-fast Internet infrastructure and a free wireless internet system that actually works -- but for downtown only.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, February 19, 2014, 11:38 AM

Comments (37)

Posted by Jeff, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 19, 2014 at 11:51 am

oh good, a year of waiting for google to follow through on their NEW promise of wifi, then a year of it working, then it will start failing again when google, with its toddler-like attention span, gets distracted by a new shiny thing

we've been here before…


Posted by shane, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 19, 2014 at 12:27 pm

"This week it's ultra-fast Internet infrastructure", really? when did that happen? Oh wait, it's "'possibility' of installing thousands of miles of new fiber-optic cables...".


Posted by Scott Lamb, a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 19, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Google Fiber in Mountain View will be amazing if it happens, but it's not a "gift". My understanding is that it's intended to be profitable, even ignoring any benefit to Google's other lines of business. Web Link Which really goes to show just how much Comcast has been gouging us...

(Full disclosure: I work for Google. I don't have anything to do with Google Fiber, though.)


Posted by ELD, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 19, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Very confusing…
A $500K 'generous grant offer' for fixing what never worked without buying a device to make it work very slowly?

Ultra fast??? 'Speed of Light'
'Possibility' should be an ABSOLUTE part of the deal.

What is considered 'the downtown corridor only'?

How long before we change the name of the city to "Google-View" and how much will it cost us to do so?


Posted by Smart, a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 19, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Of course nothing is free, just look at your grocery bags, everything has a bottom line and that is profit, or the hope for profits.

The future is in the internet, not TV channel medias. I myself only have the internet. Got rid of comcast and brought a digital tv converter with a plug in antenna. Works great, there are still a lot of over the air channels that are good.

I got rid of my phone and now have magic jack, works off the internet, you can make any calls within the USA for free. 20 dollars/ yr

Newspapers are thing of the past, got rid of my subscription a long time ago and i was a daily reader.

When times are tough, you do what you can to reduce your cost of living.


Posted by PeaceLove, a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 19, 2014 at 2:42 pm

"We need to provide the tools of success for every one of our residents in this connected world," said Mayor Chris Clark in a statement.

The "downtown corridor" consists mainly of businesses and hardly extends to "every one" of Mountain View's residents. Great that I'll be able to download hi-def movies from inside of Global Beads, but still...


Posted by James, a resident of Whisman Station
on Feb 19, 2014 at 2:46 pm


Would be nice if they provided Fiber to the schools as they are in the process of upgrading their infrastructure.


Posted by manny, a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 19, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Agree with the prior comment "been here before".

We should have free google wifi today and for the past almost decade.


Posted by JeffM, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 19, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Just to clarify after someone asked - I am not the same "Jeff" in OMV who posted the first comment.

Jeff Muscatine


Posted by Dave, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 19, 2014 at 4:47 pm

You people sound like a bunch of spoiled brats. Google owes us absolutely nothing. You should be happy our home values are solid and there are high paying jobs available funded by the success of Google, Apple, Facebook, and the many, many spinoffs from them, not to mention all the venture capital here and great research done at Stanford, Berkeley and other universities. Stop whining about what Google "should" do. If you don't like it here, leave and take your sleazy sense of entitlement with you. Free up space for someone who appreciates all the great things here.


Posted by Robin, a resident of Whisman Station
on Feb 19, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Yay?


Posted by Rodger, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 19, 2014 at 5:16 pm

I would love to see competition for Comcast, hopefully the prices will be better. It would be nice to know if all of Mountain View would eventually be included in the Google service and if so when. At any rate I hope Mountain View works with Google to bring this service to Mountain View even if in limited areas at first.

I now have Comcast's 50 mbs service which works great but is a little expensive.


Posted by Sandy, a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 19, 2014 at 5:19 pm

Dave:

It's not a problem with entitlement, it's that Google actively kills better alternatives. Google swoops in with promises of free stuff for everyone (in this case wifi), so any company that would be willing to offer a better service walks away, since they can't compete with free. Without competition, Google has zero incentive to improve (or indeed, even fix) their service, so it flounders. Now people have a shitty service with no options. Eventually, they sometimes even kill their free product (see: Web Link , etc.) They come in, destroy a possible ecosystem or capitalistic marketplace, then, as the original poster said, get bored or distracted, and walk away. That's bad for everyone.


Posted by Party on Garth, a resident of another community
on Feb 19, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Google Fiber would be totally radical dude!


Posted by David Harkness, a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 19, 2014 at 7:02 pm

@Sandy,

Do other cities have companies providing paid city-wide wifi? While Google may push out competition with a free product, I don't know of any alternatives elsewhere.

I suspect they are offering to do this to help convince the city to allow the for-profit Google Fiber test. I really hope this materializes soon. I am so sick of Comcast and their inflated rates.

$70/mo for gigabit internet (anyone know if this price includes TV?) will be phenomenonal!


Posted by Moffet Resident, a resident of Willowgate
on Feb 19, 2014 at 7:53 pm

The link that Scott posted above is to an article on cnet.com that goes way further than the Voice article in explaining the Google Fiber project. Here's the link again: Web Link. This article concerns the project in Kansas City, but may give us a clue as to why they are proposing this project here. As Scott said, it's not exactly a "gift." Yes, it would be great, if and when it is built out into the city.

And while it's true that Google doesn't "owe" us anything (unless you count the incredible impact the company has on this city, both for better and worse), $500,000 is really a pittance, considering their resources.


Posted by Los Gatos Resident, a resident of another community
on Feb 19, 2014 at 8:42 pm

Mountain View gets all the Google Love with their grants to schools, donations to CSA, and now Fiber! I wish Google was based in Los Gatos so we can benefit from their genorosity.


Posted by SP Phil, a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 19, 2014 at 10:14 pm

I "chased" Google WiFi from the beginning and relied on it for several months. I even invested in a roof-top antenna (2nd story) beamed at the nearest Google WiFi node over a block away, as there are no city-owned poles on my street, thus no node very close.

Via the Google WiFi page I submitted several requests for improved service and even offered my 2nd-story roof for placement of a node to serve my area. No dice.

Eventually the service degraded and/or more and more people started using Google WiFi, and service collapsed at 8 pm night after night.

At that point I had to go back to Comcast. So I'm skeptical until proven otherwise that Google intends to provide seriously-useful access downtown. (If they do, of course I wish I had it at my home, not far from Castro Street.)

Thank you for those who posted the link to Google Fiber's work in Kansas City. That article provides details of what we can expect in Mountain View.


Posted by Mr. Big, a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 19, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Remember we are talking about two separate deals here:

1. Google WiFi which is FREE and worked great for the first 5 years. Google signed-up to run it for another 5 years and they should complete that agreement.

Take the $500,000 and fix the malfunctioning equipment (i.e. the failing switches that are causing the packet loss/data corruption issue).

I do not believe Google has been completely honest as to the reason for the failing Google WiFi system. The packet corruption continues even at 2, 3, 4, 5 a.m. when most of Mountain View is asleep (except me)... So, Google's claim that the problems are caused by extreme bandwidth demand do not make sense. Even if it were true they could simply throttle data rates per user, limit access to streaming video or limit the time each user is online to fix the "extreme bandwidth demand".

Yes, the system wasn't designed for the streaming of HD movies, VOIP telephony, video chat etc., that's what Google Fiber will do. But, fix and keep the existing system until Google Fiber is up and running in all the residential areas that want it before you take the Google WiFi system down.

Internet access is now a utility... period. Even limited access to Google WiFi as it stands now is better than no access. DO NOT trade nearly complete citywide coverage with Google WiFi for limited Google Fiber downtown. People who live downtown and are paying up to $8,000 per month can afford their own internet access. "Internet access is the great equalizer" - Mr. Big

2. Google Fiber
Ten times + the speed (1 Gb) of cable internet for $70 per month or 5 Mb speed for a one-time $300 charge (payable in two years). This does also include TV (no phone service) with Netflix, YouTube etc.

This will hopefully roll out over the next few YEARS in Mountain View IF the city makes it "Easy" (see the article links in the above comments) to install the infrastructure.

I'm a long time MV resident, have used Google WiFi since it started and a technology expert with over 35 years running, installing and using computer systems. I will use my expertise to fight for Google WiFi and access to the internet for ALL. Access to information has historically been used a barrier for success for the masses. We are a great city! We cannot "go back it time", we must move forward with internet access for all!


Posted by Scott Lamb, a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 20, 2014 at 1:09 am

In Kansas city, Google Fiber TV+Internet is $120/month. Web Link I assume it'd be similar here if this actually happens. This is more expensive than Comcast's bottom TV+Internet tier ($90/month after the first year), but it's so much better it's almost unbelievable. Comcast won't give you gigabit speeds, a comparable channel lineup, 1 TB of cloud storage, a DVR, or a tablet that can be a remote control + portable TV for that price. And of course you can't get this speed from them for any price. They don't even really give you the speeds they claim. (I can't consistently stream HD Netflix at prime time. Comcast's backbone links are overloaded.)

This is the miracle of suddenly having a competitor using modern technology. Imagine how different things would look if most houses in the US could choose between a handful of fiber-based ISPs.


Posted by Amelia, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 20, 2014 at 8:39 am

Bring on the Google Fiber! I'm sick of Comcast!!!


Posted by dollarbin, a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 20, 2014 at 1:17 pm

dollarbin is a registered user.

Yay Fiber!

I'm fed up with Comcast and fed up with AT&T DSL, they're either expensive or crummy or both. Perhaps some day I'll be fed up with Google Fiber as well, but I look forward to having the opportunity to get there.


Posted by Shonda Ranson, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 20, 2014 at 5:26 pm

I want to disclose that I am the Communications Coordinator for the CIty of Mountain View and issued the news release regarding this connectivity plan. I've enjoyed reading everyone's comments and wanted to help clarify some things about what's going on with Google. And Daniel, you did a great job covering this.

There are 3 different parts of the plan (short-term and long-term) that are not dependent on one another.

1. If accepted by Council on Feb. 25, Google will put in a new, free, OUTDOOR public Wi-Fi in the downtown corridor, which is primarily Castro because it was determined to be a key, high-use area of outdoor Wi-Fi specifically in Mountain View.

2. If accepted by Council on Feb. 25, Google has offered to give the City grant funds of $500k for technology projects. Some of that money, the CIty has earmarked to bring free-to-use, new or upgraded Wi-Fi (City-owned, not necessarily from Google) to Rengstorff Park (outdoor) and indoor Wi-Fi at the Community Center, Library, Senior Center and Teen Center. These buildings and areas were designated as a way to help close the digital divide for our residents.

3. Separate from 1 & 2 and proposed much after the first two items were slated to go before Council, Google has given Mountain View a seat at the table to consider Fiber and will work with the City during the next few months to determine our "Fiber readiness." The City will also be considering things like resources, staff time away from other projects and environmental impact (CEQA regulations). There is no timeline for Fiber at the moment other than we'll be looking at readiness during the next few months.

We'll continue to keep residents updated on these projects and vote outcomes via Facebook Web Link and twitter Web Link


Posted by Mr. Big, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Feb 20, 2014 at 8:07 pm

@Shonda Ranson

1. Please provide a link to the individual agreements between Google and the city in writing.

2. The city already has a new WiFi system downtown and at the library plus many businesses provide free WiFi to their customers on Castro. I assume the agreement to "replace" the existing Google WiFi system downtown with a new system offered by Google is really just a veiled ruse to shut down the existing CITY WIDE Google WiFi system in exchange for providing free WiFi to a very limited number of residents who already have broadband and can afford it – I hope I'm wrong about my assumption as this would ADD to the "digital divide".

Mountain View should not agree to shut down the existing Google WiFi until Google Fiber is available in each neighborhood then they can shut down the Tropos WiFi pole mounted routers in that area.

Also, the existing Google WiFi system should be fixed NOW as it will be years before every neighborhood in Mountain View will have Google Fiber. It should cost ~$150-$200K to replace the failing switches (the reason for the data corruption on the existing Google WiFi). If Google doesn't want to meet it's agreement to run Google WiFi through 2016 then perhaps the city should partner with Mountain View based PepLink to run the system until Google Fiber is rolled out.

3. Please do everything possible to meet Google's checklist deadline for inclusion into the list of cities to receive Google Fiber.

+++++++++++++++++++++++

FYI, currently Google Fiber is $70/mo or $120 w/Google TV plus either $300 in "construction' cost in KC or $30 in Provo


Posted by Shonda Ranson, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 20, 2014 at 9:37 pm

@Mr. Big

The Council will be making decisions on whether or not there will be an agreement on Tuesday, February 25. Your invited to speak up during public comments to Council or Choose "City Council" from the Ask Mountain View online form to send comments to the Council.

The current system, which is a service free to public from a corporate citizen, is not robust enough to handle the volume of active and passive devices that have exponentially increased since the original system was installed, meaning less people can reliably access it, now. With the new proposal, key outdoor areas and indoor at City-owned facilities that service all members of the public and are highly accessible to all members of the public are slated to carry the new system - whether through Google's downtown corridor or via technology grant funds. This was specifically to target areas that provide services (and in some cases equipment) to those that might not otherwise have that access.

The City will be determining our Fiber readiness, and will follow up with more information as we learn more ourselves.

Like all City issues, some people will be happy and some people probably won't. But we hope that residents continue to keep an open dialogue and we will continue to listen and keep you informed.

Hope this helps.


Posted by Mr. Big, a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 21, 2014 at 1:46 am

@Shonda Ranson

Thank you for your quick response.

I will be making my views known for the city council meeting.

If Google's offer is to put in WiFi in several downtown area's (separate from the possibility of Google Fiber) then have them shut off the Tropos nodes (these are the white WiFi routers on the power poles) from existing Google WiFi system. This should reduce some of the load on the existing Google WiFi system.

Please help save Google WiFi or take it over as a city-wide service... it is now a utility for Mountain View.
Yes, it's no longer as useful as it was two year ago, but I'm using it to write this info and... I can:
access my email account (but only very small attachments will download now)
access my account at the MV library and renew/reserve items
do research online
make FTP transfers for small HTML files work fine
check the weather
keep up with the news
Check my FB, Twitter accounts to keep up with friends, family, civic info and work opportunities etc.
make travel and other reservations
post items on CL and other sites
look for jobs posted online and submit resumes
make all manner of appointments
file my taxes (for free)
communicate with city, state and federal agencies
check status of various accounts: bank, PG&E, phone company, etc.
Plus many other uses!

So as you can see the existing "crippled" Google WiFi system is FAR from useless. The uptime for the Google WiFi system is decent so the residents of the city can access the system 24x7 and 365 days a year. No need to wait for the library to open. You will need to expand the library hours and operating days (no more two and three day holidays) if you shut down the Google WiFi system before we get Google Fiber.

+++++++++++

If the existing Google WiFi system is being over-taxed by "active and passive" users, they can simply do some or all of the suggestions below to stabilize the system and untill we get Google Fiber:

block streaming video IP addresses (i.e. NetFlix, Hulu, etc.)
block VOIP IP addresses (i.e. Skype, Facetime, etc.)
block gaming IP addresses (i.e. Xbox Live)
block access to streaming audio sites (i.e. iTunes, Pandora, Spotify etc.)
limit users time online (i.e 4 hours per day)
kick users that have been online but inactive for some time
throttle data rates for heavy users like the phone companies do





Posted by Fegi, a resident of Whisman Station
on Feb 21, 2014 at 3:36 pm

@Mr. Big
"FYI, currently Google Fiber is $70/mo or $120 w/Google TV plus either $300 in "construction' cost in KC or $30 in Provo"

Web Link

As per google's website, the $300 fee is only for the 5mb (7 year) free internet available for everyone.

google fiber is the best service and price by FAR. Comcast and AT&T have terrible prices per mb, and also atrocious upload speeds. Comcast and AT&T have been voted #2 and #3 as worst companies in the US for customer satisfaction. I really hope we bring fiber to Mountain View and actually have a great service for a reasonable price.

@Shonda Ranson Is there anything we can do as residents to help make google fiber a reality or are the only road blocks things we can not help at the moment?


Posted by Shonda Ranson, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 21, 2014 at 4:38 pm

@Fegi

The first part, which is determining Mountain View's "Fiber readiness," will be mainly City staff and leaders working with Google, who has a checklist that their Fiber team prepared when working with the other cities previously.

I can tell you that there is a lot of interest and the City is excited about the possibility. We see it as beneficial to everyone if we can make it happen. You probably also noticed from the list of cities that there is a bit of regional approach involved (Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and San Jose), which makes it collaborative effort all around.

I'd say the best thing you can do is keep informed and keep staying involved so that Council and City leaders know your interest as the project continues. We always come from a place of listening, which is why we have so many ways for the public to talk to us.


Posted by James, a resident of Whisman Station
on Feb 21, 2014 at 9:30 pm


Please include the school district in your Fiber planning.


Posted by Mr. Big, a resident of Castro City
on Feb 21, 2014 at 11:15 pm

Ask Mountain View Link to have your questions included in the Feb. 25th meeting: Web Link

+++++++++

@Fegi your weblink is not working, here is the correct link: Web Link
Also, there construction fee varies for condo's. One of the condo agreements charges $300 per unit to the condo association I would assume, but they refund those fees using subscriber fees.

+++++++++

Another reason to save the existing Google Fiber : Web Link


Posted by Flava Dave, a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 22, 2014 at 6:21 am

Flava Dave is a registered user.

Does anyone here actually think they're going to get fiber to the house? Maybe to a neighborhood or a trunk. From there your speed is limited. Even then it's going to cost millions of dollars to run it. Why do you think ATT Uverse is still on twister pair?

And the speed you get is limited by plenty of other things. People used to call up @Home and whine about not getting full speed they were promised. So the phone techs would send them a 50 gig file straight from @Home which took less than one second..this was over 10 years ago...


Posted by @Fegi, a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 22, 2014 at 1:46 pm

@Flava Dave. Yes just like how fiber is going to the homes of many others like in Kansas. 50gigs in 1 second 10 years ago... there's ridiculous. I'm going to bed you to send a source for that claim.

Yes speeds do get limited by other things but currently the 25 down 5 up speeds we get for $60 a month from Comcast is the limiting thing. 1000 down 1000 up RECORDED by CUSTOMERS is not just advertised. This is the future. The United States is WAY behind the developed world in internet connectivity and pricing. Just take a look at South Korea.


The only reason AT&T is still on twisted pair is because they have no competition that is willing to bring high speed internet (besides Google now) so they have zero invective to provide a better service because if we want to use the internet we have to use them


Posted by Flava Dave, a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 22, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Flava Dave is a registered user.

Fergi do you know why there is a higher percentage of people with high speed access in S Korea? MDUs. Do you know what a MDU is? Probably not. Are you really that oblivious to the population density in the areas with the highest percentage of high speed access?

Since you think AT&T is "waiting" for competition. Uverse is an afterthought. Uverse is trying to compete with Comcast... Why do you think they experimented with and then gave up on HFC telephony well over a decade ago? Do you even know what that is? They've obviously just given up on 'fat pipe' and are just going to try to use tech to squeeze bandwith out to people.

Let us know when every house in the bay area has fiber going to it. Let us know who is going to pay for it.

Have you ever worked in a NOC? A headend? Spliced fiber nodes? Built numbers into a switch? How old are you copies of Newtons? Have you ever met let alone worked with Milo or TJ?


Posted by Shonda Ranson, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 23, 2014 at 12:32 pm

@Mr. Big

Just so that you are aware (and I don't represent or claim to represent Google in any way), I do know that Google has a corporate philosophy of freedom for Internet use and NOT restricting how it is used -- in any way. So it is unlikely they would pose restrictions on the use if they are providing access.

They have been very vocal regarding freedom of Internet use from the very beginning. Here's their call to action regarding Web Link


Posted by Mondrian, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 23, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Flava Dave, our community has AT&T fiber (not copper) to each garage. And still AT&T restricts uploads to 1/10th of download speed. I do agree with Fegi that absence of real competition has something to do with this.


Posted by Mr. Big, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 23, 2014 at 6:54 pm

@Shonda Ranson
I fully support freedom of internet censorship, net neutrality and internet for all.

But, it is NOT censorship should Google decide to block access to certain websites in order to stabilize an over-taxed system instead of shutting the entire system down. This is just a temporary measure until we get Google Fiber. I'm certain any survey taken of MV Google WiFi users would prefer a system with a few websites blocked than no system for 18-36 months.

The current Google WiFi system covers ~70-80% (please ask Google for updated statistics and post the info) of MV residents. Shutting down a system, and waiting 18-36 months for Google Fiber to reach as many MV residents, that covers most of MV residents for one that only covers 5% (again as Google for an estimate for the new system and post the info) is COMPLETE censorship

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

The problem (data packet corruption) with the existing Google WiFi system causes pages not to load, images and downloads to be corrupted, videos not to play, garbles VOIP calls, blocks SSL connections and more.

The most like causes for data packet corruption are network congestion (as Google claims), hardware failure, software related (network drivers, routing routines or even malicious viruses) or network dissuasion (network settings by administrators that make certain online activities too "painful for users").

A simple test can be conducted by Google to test if the problem truly is related to network congestion: restart the entire system at the time of day (3 a.m.?) with the least load on the system. Then, simply test to see if the same problems exist after the system restarts. If the problems persist then the problem is most likely hardware or software related.


Posted by Tony, a resident of Castro City
on Feb 26, 2014 at 6:48 am

Well, at least the City staff will continue to build out the free WiFi, since google with their billions of dollars and access to teams of engineers couldn't do it. I use the library every day, and if they get the senior center up, even better. Why has there been no press talking about this network? It's faster than anything Google has done, or San Jose, or Santa Clara.

Go little guys!


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