Google Satellite Receivers Hint At TV Service

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  1. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    Google satellite receivers hint at TV service - KansasCity.com (click for full article)

    "An application by Google Inc. to set up a satellite receiving station in the Midwest could hint at the company bundling TV service with its ultra fast Internet service promised for Kansas City. Or something else.

    Google is being characteristically mum on the subject, a spokeswoman saying only "we're still exploring what product offerings will be available when we launch Google Fiber" - the name given for its Internet service project.

    And the application filed with the Federal Communications Commission for the satellite receivers does not give specifics about how Google might use the station in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

    Rather, Google said in its application that the company wants those satellite receiving stations to capture C-band and Ku-band signals "to provide analog and digital audio, data, and video services." That could constitute an "antenna farm" similar to what cable television companies use to capture signals before routing them to customers, analysts said.

    The technology blog Ars Technica first noted the application, which was denied on technical grounds. The FCC signaled a revised application might go forward.

    Why Council Bluffs? Perhaps because the Omaha area sits on the backbone of the fiber optic cables that stretch the Internet across the United States. The location could help if Google launched its super fast Internet service in other markets, or if it incorporated a paid-programming package with its foundering Google TV products for people watching television over the Web.

    The Council Bluffs station might act as what the cable industry describes as a "head end." That's where television signals are captured from satellites, unscrambled and assigned to channels. Google then transfer the signals over Internet Protocol Television, or a technology like that used with AT&T's Uverse service called IPTV, to homes.

    That western Iowa hub might also be used to feed programming to devices such as tablets or smartphones using Google's Android software, or to televisions connected to the Internet through Google TV, said Kansas State University computer scientist Dan Andresen.

    "You might want something centrally located in the country to reduce latency" - or delays in transmission - he said.

    Some analysts believe the Council Bluffs operation could set up a television service Google might package with its one-gigabit-per-second Internet service in Kansas City. Google expects to start offering service to some neighborhood in Kansas City, Kan., by mid-summer. The company has not yet said how much it will charge, but it has said it is considering services beyond just Internet access.

    "I never believed (Google's plan for Kansas City) was going to be an Internet-only, data-only proposition," said Mark Kersey, a cable industry analyst.

    He and others said that luring customers with just an Internet service, even at download speeds 100 times the broadband average and upload speeds 1,000 times quicker than the norm, would be difficult. Google has said it will charge rates competitive with conventional service.

    But far more people today subscribe to TV packages from their cable companies, and increasingly telephone companies, than buy Internet service. So analysts have been speculating that Google might need to include telephone and television packages to attract a significant number of customers and to cover the steep expenses of building a network.

    "That infrastructure cannot easily be paid for by just one service," said Steve Effros, a former president of the Cable Telecommunications Association. "You've got to get a significant subscriber base for all of those services. ...If they're trying to find a number that works, they're going to have to bundle services."
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2012

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