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Google Fiber Is Good for the Country, and for Google

Much more motivating, according to BTIG LLC analyst Richard Greenfield, is "getting broadband speeds up nationwide and ending the digital divide [to] help improve the YouTube experience and frankly every experience on the Internet." Or, as Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser contends, Google is simply "demonstrating that it will 'protect the moat' around its cash-cow paid search business by spending hundreds of millions (and eventually billions?) of dollars on Google Fiber."

What's good for the Internet is good for Google, in other words, and vice-versa. The bundle currently offered by Google Fiber becomes such an afterthought in this context that its management could easily be assumed by Google's up-and-running video operation, YouTube LLC.

If so, as its website reveals, YouTube is already set up to unbundle any bundle Google Fiber might be offering and repurpose its many splintered parts as a la carte programming. Only YouTube calls its unbundled selections "subscriptions," which users select after browsing channels grouped under such headings as "Movies," "Sports" and "TV Shows."

Users can then go completely granular and subscribe to an episode of "Doctor Who" for $1.99, say, or less granular and subscribe to the BBC for free. The point is users customize their programming line-ups in ways that offer complete flexibility and total control over what their video charges will be.

All of which suggests the next chapter of the Internet is already here. With the help of YouTube, all Google has to do is to get bundled-up cable customers to turn the page.

Google was gaining 0.3% to $801.60. Shares have advanced 35% in the past 12 months.

Written by Richard Morgan in New York
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