Why Google isn't offering Voice in Kansas City

19 Dec

Old British telephones

A couple of weeks back, the Kansas City Business Journal ran a short article about why Google wasn’t offering voice to Google Fiber customers (under the strangely formulated title of Google considers but drops plans to include phone service, too).

In a nutshell, what Google’s Milo Medin says is: “regulation makes it too complicated”.

I think there’s a little more to it than that. Google probably believes that either customers will want to keep their landlines anyway (there’s a fair bit of resistance, especially amongst older people, to cutting off one’s landline) or they’ll be willing to go mobile only with the off bit of Skype here and there. In my view, that’s forward thinking but maybe a bit too forward thinking. Still, I can understand the reasoning: why bother setting up a billing system?

What’s perhaps more interesting to me is the excuse of over-complicated regulation. It’s not the first time Google Fiber execs have used that anti-regulation argument, and it still surprises me. Surely Google’s own policy people see that it’s a counter productive argument to use and it puts them firmly in the camp of the companies they wanted to displace in the first instance (AT&T and Time Warner Cable in this case).

I’m really puzzled by this. Regulation is in large part what allows the core of Google’s business to continue to operate over existing networks, so why the disconnect?


Photo Credit: Old British Telephones by DanBrady

One Response to “Why Google isn't offering Voice in Kansas City”

  1. cyberdoyle December 21, 2012 at 6:39 am #

    If you have a decent internet connection its really easy to take one of the existing voip providers on board yourself. I think google will let people take the initiative themselves, and then as you say they don’t have all the hassle of billing. This is real open access in action. I am sure the people of Kansas are no fools and will soon realise how much they can save by binning off the old twisted pair. Once google has the network built I bet they will come up with a voip solution as well.

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