Digital anatomy classes from the living room. Building a start-up business in the kitchen.
That’s how Marc Hoit sees things with Google Fiber, and he’s looking forward to it.
“It’s the future of how we’re going to learn,” said Holt, vice chancellor for information technology at North Carolina State University. “How we’re going to work. How we’re going to have fun.”
Industry sources confirmed Friday that Google Fiber is seeking bids to begin building a fiber network in the Triangle as early as April.
Google has been in active discussions with Raleigh and Cary regarding negotiating right-of-way access and obtaining the necessary zoning for “fiber huts” that would protect the network’s equipment.
Google has formed a Google Fiber company in North Carolina and discussed a network with Triangle-area engineering firms, but the company has remained quiet on its plans for the region.
The proposed network comes as AT&T is creating its “U-verse with GigaPower” entertainment and Internet network in the Triangle.
AT&T is also designing the “North Carolina Next Generation Network” after winning a contract from a consortium that includes Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Winston-Salem as well as Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Wake Forest University and N.C. State.
Google Fiber and AT&T’s networks offer gigabit Internet access, which is up to 100 times faster than standard Internet speeds.
“Having multiple competitors offering that helps us as a consumer by bringing down price, getting more services,” Hoit said. “It just makes it a better landscape.”
The challenge is getting high-speed Internet service to rural areas, Hoit added.
“The average home connection is 20 megabits, and that’s in the (metropolitan) areas,” he said. “You get into the rural areas, you’re lucky if you get five. We’re talking about a gigabit is 1,000 (megabits). So you go from five to 20 to 1,000.”
The push towards faster Internet service – and having it accessible to as many people as possible – is due to how society communicates and receives information.
“How many devices do you have? I have five that are using Internet connection, and just my wife and I, between the two of us, we have eight or 10 devices in the house,” he said. “That’s not to mention you’re streaming on TV, your music player, your many devices in which you do your work. They’re now talking about…before long your refrigerator is going to tell you time to go shopping because your milk spoiled. And as that connectivity goes up you need more bandwidth.”
Increased Internet speeds would be beneficial for John deBardeleben, an N.C. State student who is part of a team developing an application to help diagnose concussions.
“For our project, we only have one year to complete the project, and if we have a really fast Internet and have all these resources here, we can get access to vital information really quickly,” he said. “It would be amazing if I had this type of Internet speed. I might not even leave my own home.”