Ultra-High-Speed Internet Coming Soon, But Not Soon Enough for Some

Google Fiber, AT&T U-verse GigaPower lead the pack as broadband gets a boost

When you’re a production company specializing in television commercials and Web-based content, you need a fast connection to the Internet — a really fast one.

That’s one box Bark Productions and its sister company 19 Below have ticked. In 2014, the Kansas City-based companies, which have worked with clients such as McDonald’s, Walmart and PetSmart, exchanged their broadband service from AT&T U-verse and Time Warner Cable, respectively, for Google Fiber. And they’ve never looked back.

“We’re continually uploading and downloading things for clients to review,” says Brad Slaughter, a partner in both firms. “Those speeds have been dramatically increased because of Google Fiber.”

The service offers speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second; that’s 100 times faster than the average national broadband speed and 50 times the previous gold standard speed, delivered by Verizon FiOS.

Ultra-high-speed Internet service, like Google Fiber or AT&T GigaPower, is the envy of many around the country, one of the topics of Variety’s Entertainment and Technology Summit. Gamers are particularly happy with it. As the gaming industry shifts to a digital distribution model, via services like Valve’s Steam, and digital storefronts from Sony and Microsoft for their home consoles, ultra-high-speed Internet lets players quickly acquire new titles — and software updates (which can take an hour or more to download) can be obtained almost instantly.

A growing panoply of companies offer ultra-high-speed Internet. Both Google and AT&T are predictably bullish on the potential of the service and plan to expand it.

They’re not likely to do so at the pace people would like, though, due to the high cost of infrastructure. Goldman Sachs estimates it will cost up to $140 billion to reach 100 million U.S. households with the necessary fiber-optic lines. (AT&T and Comcast have dedicated more of their budgets to Internet provider operations.)

The slow national rollout, though, has prompted some cities to take matters into their own hands. Chattanooga, Tenn., has created its own ultra-high-speed Internet services. In February, the FCC overturned laws that prevented cities from providing high-speed Internet. Tennessee has already filed suit attempting to block that ruling — ironically, stopping Chattanooga from expanding its service to other cities.

The service has a downside for content owners: Downloading and seeding pirated films on services like Bit Torrent is easier. A 10GB file boasting Blu-ray quality can be obtained in under 10 minutes.

Still, the consensus is demand could increase the pace of expansion.

“I think if we moved, we would definitely prefer to have Google Fiber installed,” Slaughter says. “If it wasn’t an option, that would definitely be a step backwards for us.”

What: Variety Entertainment and Technology Summit New York
When: April 30
Where: Le Parker Meridien, New York

More Digital

  • FaceApp is displayed on an iPhone,

    SAG-AFTRA Warns Members About FaceApp Terms of Use

    SAG-AFTRA is warning its 160,000 members about the “overreaching and invasive” terms of use for the FaceApp mobile application. FaceApp, developed by Russian company Wireless Lab, uses neural network technology to automatically generate transformations of faces in photographs. The app can be used to make users appear older, younger, or change gender. The terms include [...]

  • J. Cole

    Apple Music Launches 'Rap Life' Playlist

    Apple Music announced the launch of “Rap Life,” a new global playlist focusing on contemporary rap artists and culture. It replaces the former “The A-List: Hip-Hop” playlist. Said Ebro Darden, Apple Music’s Global Editorial Head of Hip-Hop and R&B: “We flipped it to dig deeper into into the lifestyle [and to] keep pushing the culture [...]

  • Billie Eilish

    ARRI, Mobile TV Group Back New Venture Revitalizing Streamed Concerts

    A new venture looking to bring a fresh approach to live-streaming concerts has gotten the backing of hardware heavyweights ARRI and Mobile TV Group. Wide+Close is launching with the mandate of shooting music performances with film cameras and cinematographers in order to give the content a more cinematic feel. “We want to take concert filming [...]

  • Fortnite Battle Royale

    How 'Fortnite' Fans Can Earn Loot by Watching YouTube Videos

    Epic Games and YouTube have teamed up with a special offer for “Fortnite” players — giving players of the popular battle-royale game rewards when they watch “Fortnite”-premiered content on the video platform. The catch: You have to watch at least 20 minutes of “Fortnite” special content or live esports broadcasts to receive the loot. Under [...]

  • Roku headquarters

    Roku Plans to Expand to Brazil, Other Countries (EXCLUSIVE)

    Roku plans to expand to multiple new territories in the coming months, Variety has learned. One of the first new markets for the company will likely be Brazil. An international expansion could help Roku grow its customer base, which in turn should lead to growing advertising revenues. Roku executives have been hinting at plans to [...]

  • Google Stadia Pro to Include 1

    Google’s Stadia Game Streaming Service to Include Free Monthly Game

    Google has been busy sharing additional details about its upcoming game streaming service Stadia, clearing up some confusion in the process. Stadia’s pro subscription tier, which will cost $10 per month, won’t be a Netflix-type subscription service. However, subscribers will get free games at the rate of about a title per month. That’s according to [...]

  • Crypt-TV-Facebook

    Facebook Signs Deal With Crypt TV for Slate of Five Horror Series

    Crypt TV, the digital studio founded by Eli Roth and Jack Davis and backed by Jason Blum, expanded its deal with Facebook, inking a content partnership to create a slate of five horror and monster-themed series exclusively for Facebook Watch. For Facebook Watch, it’s one of the first deals for a full slate of content [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content