Google is not Getting Into the Cable Business Yet

Reports of Google launching a cable empire are a bit premature.

Tabloid papers jumped on word that the Mountain View-based search giant filed for a video franchise license with the Missouri Public Service Commission last week.

But Google, while confirming that it filed for the license, is quick to temper expectations that the tech company is getting into the television business.

Instead Google says the move is just a legal hurdle for the company to explore what types of services it could offer on its lighting fast test broadband network that it is building in Kansas City.

"We are still exploring what product offerings will be available when we launch Google Fiber in Kansas City," a Google spokeswoman said Wednesday when asked about building a television platform on top of its fiber Internet service.

Last March, Google chose Kansas City, Kansas from thousands of applicants as its playground to install an experimental fiber-optic Internet connection. Google later added Kansas City, Missouri as part of the pilot program.

Google Communications Associate Jenna Wandres said its still too early to tell how the service will work and what exactly the company will offer on it but there are countless possibilities.

About a week and a half ago, Google began actual construction in Kansas City to lay the ground work for the network.

This follows almost a year of working with public officials and local representatives on planning and surveying the land and the available infrastructure.

The network is expected to be in customer homes by "the first half of 2012."

Wandres said the cost of installing the pipeline and what it will actually cost customers is still up in the air since Google has not done a project like this before.

The company did install a smaller scale version of the network on the Stanford campus in Palo Alto but Wandres said the work from that model does not translate directly to a larger arena, such as Kansas City.  

"It was a good learning process," she said. "(But) what we are doing at Stanford is completely different than Kansas City...It's certainly not a carbon copy process."

For Google the project is about moving the web forward and creating new businesses for both itself and its competitors.

That could mean delivering cable quality programming over a fiberoptic network but it could also mean services that the world has not even imagined yet.

Years ago before broadband was an affordable option for every home in the U.S., few would have imagined a site like YouTube could be possible.

Now the Google-owned video-sharing site has 48 hours of video uploaded every minute on its servers and over three billion videos watched on its site daily.

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