Jim Probasco, Benzinga Staff Writer
Google (GOOG) is obsessed with speed. So said Google chief financial officer, Patrick Pichette, during the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference as reported by USA Today. Part of that “speed obsession” is currently being manifested in somewhat feverish attempts to develop and implement 10-gigabit Internet speeds.
For an idea of just how fast that is, consider this. The average data transfer rate in the U.S. is 9.8 megabits per second (Mbps). Google’s existing Google Fiber service (currently available only in Kansas City), which runs at 1 gigabit per second (Gbps), is more than 100 times faster than the average rate in the United States.
A speed of 10 gigabits per second would represent more than 1000 times the average data transfer rate currently available in this country. That is a staggering number.
And Google is working on it.
Aside from the aforementioned obsession with things that move fast, what other incentives would Google have for achieving such Internet speeds?
According to Pichette, faster Internet speeds mean more people will use software as a service (SaaS), provided over said Internet. A little quick extrapolation indicates that means more people using the cloud, Google, and devices like the Chromebook to work and play in cyberspace.
Pichette told USA Today, "That's where the world is going. It's going to happen. He added that while this might happen over the next 10 years, "why wouldn't we make it available in three years? That's what we're working on. There's no need to wait."
Oh yeah. The speed thing.
Achieving mind-numbing Internet speeds is actually not new. The BBC reported last October that researchers in the U.K. said they had achieved data transmission speeds of 10 gigabits per second using "li-fi." Li-fi is a technology that uses light from special LED light bulbs instead of wires.
Meanwhile, Verizon (VZ) said as recently as 2010 that it too had successfully tested 10 Gbps download and upload speeds using a new technology called XG-PON2, which would theoretically operate on Verizon’s existing fiber network.
What makes Google’s efforts significant is the fact that the company has shown a commitment to research and, in this case, implementation makes enough sense there would be no real reason to delay. Pichette’s enthusiasm doesn’t hurt either.
The Google CFO was asked on Wednesday whether Google planned to expand its Google Fiber network beyond the current three-city plan (Kansas City, Austin, and Provo) already announced.
Pichette’s answer: "Stay tuned."
At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.