Ten months ago, Google volunteered to build experimental fiber networks in "a small number of trial locations." People in about 1,100 communities then proved what a great idea this was by applying for the program. Unfortunately, the response was more than Google could handle, and so the next step has been delayed.
Milo Medin, the newly-hired Vice President of Access Services at Google, explained on the Official Google Blog today, "We had planned to announce our selected community or communities by the end of this year, but the level of interest was incredible . . . and exceeded our expectations. While we're moving ahead full steam on this project, we're not quite ready to make that announcement."
Medin then continued, "We're sorry for this delay, but we want to make sure we get this right. To be clear, we're not re-opening our selection process - we simply need more time to decide than we'd anticipated. Stay tuned for an announcement in early 2011."
This is sure to come as a disappointment to many people. Faster Internet is something that's very much in demand, and Google's idea of a competitive price seemed almost sure to beat what traditional ISPs have made their customers pay.
Also, we have to point out that this is at least the second time a big idea of Google's has run into problems. Consider Project 10^100, which set out to "help as many people as possible" and, after a long pause, ended up awarding 10 percent of the prize money to a company developing Habitrails for commuters.
Still, it's reassuring to hear that the fiber network announcement should come sometime in the next six months. And the delay is almost sure to seem forgivable to whatever communities eventually benefit from Google's ultra high-speed broadband networks.