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