Google Fiber: What Ultra-High Speed Internet Means for Public Safety

Although Google Fiber is available in a limited number of locations, it already looks like the future of the Internet in the United States. A recent review of the fastest ISPs by PC Magazine said that “not one single ISP holds even a flickering candle to Google Fiber,” which offers speeds of over 1Gb per second to users of this state-of-the-art fiber optic network.

For those cities in which Fiber has rolled out, super-fast connectivity is becoming a crucial part of the local infrastructure. Public safety, for example, is being revolutionized by the additional bandwidth in several ways, including:

Increased support for IoT
The Internet of Things promises to revolutionize the way we think about services such as emergency healthcare and home security. Monitoring devices can send constant health readings to your doctor; fall detectors can alert caregivers when a vulnerable person collapses at home; alarm systems can stream live video footage to security companies. And, emergency service operators increasingly expect to be able to call on large amounts of information: ambulances connected to the Internet of Things, for example. All of these applications require high-speed, reliable connections to function.

Video chat and location services
The increased capacity of the Google Fiber infrastructure offers whole new ways of dealing with public safety issues. For example, emergency services will find it easier to offer a video chat 911-style service, which will greatly improve communication, especially in stressful situations. Another advantage is improved location services. Currently, emergency services often struggle to pinpoint the exact location of a caller. Google’s Fiber Phone system appends location data to the call, which can be sent directly through to the operator’s terminal.

Disaster management and recovery for enterprise
When a large-scale disaster, such as a flood or earthquake, strikes, it’s vital to know what’s happening inside factories, power stations and other important buildings. Many such buildings have sophisticated monitoring systems designed to withstand a disaster and continue broadcasting to the outside world. However, these systems are only useful if they are connected to a robust, high-capacity network that transmits the data. Having this kind of bandwidth also makes it easier to initiate disaster recovery procedures for all businesses.

Information and communication in the event of mass disaster
When tragedy strikes, it’s often followed by an immense strain on local communication networks. The Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011 saw the Japanese communication infrastructure stretched to the breaking point, as millions of people tried to contact loved ones while also monitoring news sites for updates. Communication is essential during such horrific events, so it’s vital to have a network with excess capacity.

Achieving blazing fast speed is about more than being able to stream 4K movies. It’s also a public safety issue.

The ability to communicate can mean the difference between life and death. The more information that first responders have, the greater the chances of them getting to the right place, doing the right thing and possibly saving someone’s life. Google Fiber has its own set of challenges – cost, time, adoption – but hopefully their movement in the space will encourage more providers to work towards equally fast services, wired or wireless.

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