The most exciting internet development since the internet itself - at least for Americans living in Kansas City - was the recent announcement of Google Fibre.
The Internet search giant is breaking free of the shackles of search (and Android, and Chrome, and pretty much everything software) and dipping its toe into the ISP game.
Google Fibre is a 1Gbps network being rolled out throughout Kansas City. But it isn’t the speed that’s most exciting about the network. It’s the fact that Google has gone so far as to think about how the network will be used, and developed Fiber TV to accompany it. As with so many of Google’s proposed services, Fiber TV has the scent of success written all over it.
While Australia is on the road to experience a country-wide version of Google Fiber in the form of the NBN, there has been little discussion about how the Australian network will be used, aside from the politically friendly ideas of e-health and telecommuting.
Google, on the other hand, understands exactly what the average punter wants faster internet connection speeds for, and launched Fiber TV to showcase its new network’s strengths.
Acting just like a cable TV network, Fiber TV will offer hundreds of high definition channels, as well as Netflix and YouTube content, all through a single portal. Part DVR and part internet streaming, the service lets users record up to eight programs simultaneously, with two terabytes of storage to keep all your recordings in one place.
Dedicated apps for smartphones and tablets will partner with the service, turning your mobile device into a companion platform while watching content through Fiber TV, or allowing you to watch your favourite show away from the TV.
These ideas, while hardly revolutionary, are exactly the kind of developments the Australian TV industry needs to develop for a post-NBN world. It’s not enough to launch an iOS companion app and hope that having the ability to tweet during an episode of Big Brother is enough to keep viewer’s engaged.
Whether they like it or not, high speed internet is the future of television broadcast. And although the NBN is still in the early stages of rolling out across the country, it seems that Google Fiber has already offered a more enticing reason to sign up. If they want to survive, Australian TV networks need to do everything they can to adapt to this brave new television world.