Here comes Google... Regulatory filings from the search giant show its subsidiary Google Fiber seeks permission to place satellite antennas on land near its data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The antennas will enable Google to receive content feeds from broadcast networks that could potentially be bundled with a high-speed fiber service.
Bernstein Research's Craig Moffett said the move "make(s) it a near-certainty that Google will enter the pay-TV market." Further, the analyst said, while no specifics were revealed about its plans, Google's filing does hint at some features it could offer that would differentiate its service from the pay-TV competition.
1) CloudTV: Moffett called this the "YouTubization" of linear TV. "Expect Google to store content across all or most TV channels it will provide, making available not just the live stream but also past content," he said. Throw in a good search function and user interface and say good-bye to DVRs...
2) TV Everywhere: Expect Google to offer access to something like the CloudTV across multiple devices to subscribers in Kansas City. The analyst said the service would be similar to DISH's TVE without the need for adapters like SlingBox.
3) Interface: "Expect Google to attempt to innovate the user interface," Moffett said. "It is not very hard to imagine a much better interface than the one currently provided by the MSOs and satellite TV providers..."
While skeptical about the company's plans, Moffett said he expects Google to file for cable franchises in Kansas City "very soon." The incumbent cable op in the area is Time Warner Cable... but as the analyst points out, TWC's KC system accounts for less than 2% of its revenues. •
It was also reported on MediaBiz some time ago that Google made a deal with AT&T to gain access to their utility poles at a cost of $10 each.
May all be part of the high density mesh network testing they are doing on the Clearwire spectrum?