Could lightning fast internet be on its way to Canada?
Last week, Google posted a position on its own jobs board that could be an indication that the search engine giant might be planning to launch Google Fiber in Canada .
The job is “User Experience Researcher, Google Fiber” and the location is listed as “Waterloo-Kitchener, ON, Canada”.
The job description is as follows:
As a User Experience Researcher for Google Fiber, you will design and conduct user research studies across the product cycle, from the concept phase to post-launch evaluation. You will be an advocate for users and user experience research within Google Fiber, and be embedded on the Mobile development team. You are highly skilled in a range of research methods, with significant experience conducting research to understand user needs, motivations and behaviors. You have experience turning research findings into actionable user centered design and product goals. You excel at creating artifacts that inspire and aid user centered design. You communicate your findings in a clear and impactful way, and can work well in cross-functional teams. You are flexible and able to adapt to Google Fiber’s fast-paced environment.
Google Fiber, a fiber-to-the-premises service that boasts upload and download speeds in excess of a gigabit per second, was introduced as a beta in 2011 in Palo Alto, California. The service launched in Kansas City later that year and then expanded to Austin, Texas, and Provo, Utah. In February of this year, Google announced plans to expand the service to another 34 candidate cities, including Portland, Phoenix, Nashville and Atlanta. Google’s answer to the question of further expansion is a simple “Not for now,” but it provides a mailing list for updates.
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Once regarded as a “publicity stunt” aimed at shaming the “legacy giants” of the national cable and telecom industry, Google Fiber “appears to be gaining momentum”, says Marketwatch’s Nat Worden. Worden cites analyst opinions that Google could sign up three million customers in the next seven to nine years, making it a top ten internet provider in the United States. He says the momentum is being fueled in part by a deep dissatisfaction with cable companies.
One online petition to bring Google Fiber to Canada has 6401 signatures, at press time. Others aren’t waiting around, but coming up with their own solutions. The town of Olds, Alberta installed its own fibre network in 2012.
Canadian telcos seem to be taking preemptive actions aimed at curbing the voracious demand for Google Fiber. Recently, Bell Canada announced it would spend $1.4 billion to build a gigabit infrastructure project in Toronto it says will be the largest in North America.
“It will deliver the best possible online experience, something that quite frankly none of us could have imagined just a few years ago, twenty times faster than today’s marketplace,” said Bell Canada CEO George Cope.
Bell says the service will ultimately reach 1.1 million homes in the Greater Toronto Area.
But according to Netflix, Canadian ISPs have a long way to go.
According to the latest Netflix Speed Index for North America, Bell’s Fibre optic service came out on top, with an average speed of 3.73 Mbps. Google Fiber offers data transfer speeds that hit a stealthy 1 Gbps.
That discrepancy will no doubt leave many Canadians still pining for Google to stream their hockey games online.
With an a presence in Waterloo that has expanded from 30 employees after its acquisition of mobile upstart mobile player Reqwireless in 2005 to 240 employees today, the Kitchener-Waterloo tech hub would seem an obvious starting point for Google in Canada. But one question remains: Google Fiber Canada or Google Fibre Canada?