Summary:

Google has delayed its selction of a town to get a Google built fiber-to-the home network. It’s sad news for those eager to see what innovations Google can bring to the process of building a broadband network and what applications might run over such a network.

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Updated: Google has delayed its selection of a town that will get a Google-built fiber-to-the home network, according to the company’s blog. It’s sad news for the thousands of people eagerly waiting to see if their town will be selected for 1-gigabit fiber networks to the home — and especially for those eager to see what innovations Google can bring to the process of building a broadband network and also to types of applications that might run over such a network. Its project in Stanford is just the tip of the iceberg. From the blog:

This week I joined Google as vice president of Access Services to oversee the Google Fiber team. Over the past several months I’ve been following the progress the team has already made—from experimenting with new fiber deployment technologies here on Google’s campus, to announcing a “beta” network to 850 homes at Stanford—and I’m excited for us to bring our ultra high-speed network to a community.

We had planned to announce our selected community or communities by the end of this year, but the level of interest was incredible—nearly 1,100 communities across the country responded to our announcement—and exceeded our expectations. While we’re moving ahead full steam on this project, we’re not quite ready to make that announcement.

So stay tuned, broadband fans, for an announcement in 2011. While I’m pretty sure my hometown of Austin, Texas, isn’t in the running based on what I’ve heard about Google’s conversations with other municipalities, I’m still eager to see how the search giant can shake up the broadband access business. Given the lack of competition, the tussle over network neutrality and the need for fatter and faster pipes, Google’s project can’t come soon enough.

Update: The blog’s author Milo Medin, who has just joined Google to run this project, has the bio of someone familiar with audacious broadband plans. He’s listed via LinkedIn as the chairman of the California Broadband Task Force and most interestingly, as the chairman and CTO of M2Z Networks, which GigaOM readers may recall as the failed effort to bring free, slow broadband to the masses. M2Z had given up on its wireless broadband dreams in September after years of trying, and looks like its website is shut down. Prior to M2Z, Medin was the co-founder and CTO of the company that became Excite@home. Om has covered the failure of Excite@home in his book Broadbandits. So while Medin has experience building out networks, and clearly can think big, I am going to hope that his efforts with Google Fiber carry a more lasting legacy.

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