The latest news from the Fiber team
Digital Inclusion Fellowship applications open for second year
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Last year, we introduced the
Digital Inclusion Fellowship
, and paired fellows with community organizations to help build digital inclusion programs in Google Fiber cities. From leading digital literacy courses to training volunteers, fellows have been hard at work over the past 9 months helping to close the digital divide in their communities. Just last month,
, a fellow at the Nashville Public Library, led computer basics courses for 76 people, and trained 7 volunteers who can now help run courses of their own. We want more fellows like Susan to help people take advantage of the Web.
Today, in partnership with the
Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN)
for the second year of the Digital Inclusion Fellowship. 22 fellowship positions are now available in community based organizations across 11 cities, including 3 new cities: Portland, OR, San Antonio, TX, and San Francisco, CA. Much like our
commitment and affordable
offering, this fellowship is a long-term investment in the cities we work with. As the lead sponsor, Google Fiber will again contribute more than $1 million to help administer the fellowship. Our current fellows have reached thousands of people lacking Internet access, trained hundreds of volunteers, and received positive feedback from community members. And with the help of NTEN, we hope to continue our progress.
Applications are now open for 22 fellowship positions in community based organizations across 11 cities, including three new cities: Portland, OR, San Antonio, TX, and San Francisco, CA.
As we expand the fellowship into its second year, we’re sharpening the focus on digital literacy. Participants will work on digital literacy projects, and help to train adults on a variety of computer skills. Some fellows will work on expanding their Hosts’ current digital literacy courses, or building new programs with community partners. In addition to organizations that specialize in digital inclusion, fellows will also be hosted by libraries, adult literacy organizations, and organizations that provide affordable housing. And, like last year, all fellows will attend a week long orientation program, where they’ll be trained on digital literacy best practices and work to develop leadership skills.
To join the growing community of digital inclusion practitioners,
apply to the fellowship
now through May 13, 2016.
Posted by Andrew Bentley, Digital Inclusion Program Manager, Google Fiber
Modernization of the FCC's Lifeline Program: a path to improving broadband access
Friday, April 01, 2016
Broadband access truly makes a difference in people’s lives, bringing economic, social, and educational opportunities to those who are online. Yet
more than a third
of Americans still do not subscribe to home broadband, while half of the nation’s households in the lowest income tier do not subscribe. For many families, affordability remains one of the primary barriers to getting online at home.
Improving access to affordable broadband has always been part of Google Fiber’s DNA—our
digital inclusion efforts
community impact work
are a central part of our ongoing efforts to help bring fast Internet to more people. Regardless of income, everyone should be able to experience the benefits of high speed connectivity.
Yesterday, the FCC adopted its Lifeline modernization order, an essential move to encouraging broadband adoption nationwide. Until now, Lifeline has provided funds to enable providers to deliver voice service to consumers at affordable rates. When the Lifeline Assistance Program was established in 1985, high speed broadband to homes didn’t exist. But much has changed since 1985—while
voice service remains important
, increasingly people use their broadband connection as a critical means of communication. As FCC Chairman Wheeler said, “... at a time when our economy and lives are increasingly moving online and millions of Americans remain offline, it doesn’t make sense for Lifeline to remain focused only on 20th century voice service.”
For the first time, low-income consumers can apply the $9.25 Lifeline subsidy to lower the cost of qualifying broadband plans. Now consumers have the opportunity to use their benefit to reduce the cost of subscribing to broadband Internet—not just voice service—so people can choose the connectivity services that meet their needs.
Importantly, the FCC’s reforms also shift the responsibility for determining consumer eligibility out of the hands of the carriers that currently receive subsidies and to a National Eligibility Verifier. As described in the FCC’s statements, the independent third party verifier will make eligibility determinations using data from existing trusted programs such as Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), streamlining the income verification process. Shifting eligibility determinations away from the service provider has two benefits. First, subscribers can take their benefits with them to a different provider or new address, leading to more consumer choice. Second, because the eligibility determination is based on existing trusted data, it can better protect consumer privacy and security and bring more dignity to the process.
Families with low incomes increasingly choose not to purchase home broadband because it just isn’t affordable—these and many of the other changes that the FCC has voted on go a long way to address this critical problem.
Posted by Staci Pies, Senior Policy Counsel
Exploring 1 billion times faster speeds
Friday, April 01, 2016
Nearly 6 years ago, we started Google Fiber with the goal of making the web faster and better for everyone. We began with a fiber to the home solution delivering symmetrical gigabit speeds. The impact has been significant - on people, businesses and local economies. The days of loading bars, pixelated video streams and dropped Hangouts are now a thing of the past for many people and businesses in our Fiber cities.
While gigabit speeds are fast, we have come across an application where 1,000 Mbps is actually quite slow. Terribly slow. Research organizations that wish to remain anonymous have been working on an application that would enable the teleportation of a 160 pound person a distance of 60 miles in 1.2 seconds. This application requires a tremendous amount of bandwidth, because a 160-pound person represents a vast amount of data.
How much data? Our partners developed a compression algorithm that allows us to compress matter with only imperceptible levels of quality degradation. As one of the engineers put it:
“If 1 GigaQuad (GQ) = 109 = 1,000,000,000 Quads, where one quad is 2 GiB or 8 x (2 x 109) x (109 x 109) = 1.6 x 1028 bits, what speeds would we need to send an animal, object, or person 60 miles in under 1.2 seconds?”
They found that at 1 Gbps, it would take 1.6 x 1028 / 109 = 1.6 x 1019 seconds. This means that we need speeds that are 10^9 or 1 billion times faster than gigabit speeds.
Here’s how it might look:
To be clear, we are not a teleportation company. Nor do we intend to become one. We simply want to provide the data transfer speeds required to enable teleportation. The team will be tackling a number of unique scientific challenges – not only figuring out how to break down physical objects into discrete packets of data, but determining how to leverage fiber optic technology to transmit that data across distances at incredible speeds. Innovating on fiber optic infrastructure and moving data really fast is something we are deeply passionate about.
Our partners are using the quantum entanglement of the photons that move through our network to make teleportation happen, which is only possible on a pure fiber optic network. Clearly gigabit speeds are too slow. Even on a pure fiber network with gigaquad transfer rates, it would take weeks to transmit uncompressed physical data a few miles. We want these transfers to be complete in under 1.2 seconds.
The potential benefits of teleportation are tremendous. Imagine a world where you could live anywhere and commute instantly. Imagine traffic and urban congestion becoming a thing of the past. That's what teleportation can do: allow us to live gently and efficiently, spending less energy on getting from place to place, and more on the people and projects that matter.
We will continue to not have data caps – the last thing we want is for our subscribers to be trapped in the Internet because they ran out of data.
Want to see how teleportation might look for you? Use our
to calculate how far you’ll be able to go, and how long it will take.
This is a massive challenge. And an important one. We are thrilled to help advance teleportation science to create a world in which distance and travel time will not constrain our physical presence.
Posted by Pál Takácsi, Director of Engineering
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