Google refuses “fast lanes” and you still think they’re evil?

A lot of people see Google as being what their “Don’t be evil” mantra says not to be. It’s easy to see why, after all, the company’s main revenue driver is advertising. Google wants to be everywhere whether it’s your mobile, your wrist, your face, your website, or even your internet service provider. However, if you participate in Google’s world domination, you’re rewarded handsomely with unparalleled services in a cohesive ecosystem like no other.

Google Fiber is the web company’s well-received fibre broadband service which is only available in a limited amount of locations where demand is high. The first tier available in their packages is completely free, and before you ask, it has no catches. You have to deal with 5Mbps speeds but just to get online and browse that is more than enough.

It means people are getting online who wouldn’t have been previously. Yes, this makes sense for Google as it’s more people to advertise to, but that’s a pretty fair trade – I feel.

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has gained the “evil” reputation for its net neutrality laws which many rightfully say threatens the internet as we know it. The plans would allow ISPs to charge a fee for prioritised access to their networks. It would mean smaller companies and services unable to pay up these fees would be penalised with a reduced speed over those who can. In other words, the FCC plans to introduce internet “fast lanes” to the most privileged.

In a blog post on Wednesday evening, Google decided that it was a good time to remind the public that it does not employ the fast lane business model. In an opposite stance Google actually works with companies such as Netflix – who has been forced to pay a ransom to other ISPs – to implement an efficient “peering” system whereby Netflix can set-up their equipment at Fiber’s facilities.

“So that your video doesn’t get caught up in this possible congestion, we invite content providers to hook up their networks directly to ours. This is called ‘peering,’ and it gives you a more direct connection to the content that you want,” Google Fiber Director of Network Engineering Jeffrey Burgan wrote.

He continued, “We have also worked with services like Netflix so that they can ‘colocate’ their equipment in our Fiber facilities. What does that mean for you? Usually, when you go to Netflix and click on the video that you want to watch, your request needs to travel to and from the closest Netflix data center, which might be a roundtrip of hundreds or thousands of miles. Instead, Netflix has placed their own servers within our facilities (in the same place where we keep our own video-on-demand content). Because the servers are closer to where you live, your content will get to you faster and should be a higher quality.”

Google offers all this to companies for free to offer a better service to its customers. Burgan admits: “We don’t make money from peering or colocation; since people usually only stream one video at a time, video traffic doesn’t bog down or change the way we manage our network in any meaningful way — so why not help enable it?”

You can call Google “evil” all you want – right now I call them an internet hero.

Are you happy to see Google Fiber isn’t following the “fast lane” model of other ISPs? Let us know in the comments.

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