Google Said to Buy New York Building for $1.8 Billion – strategic move

Google signed a contract to buy its New York office building at 111 Eighth Avenue for about $1.8 billion, according to a person with knowledge of the agreement.  However, none of the news reports I’ve read regarding this acquisition seem to realize quite how strategic a move it really may be for Google, despite the nearly $600/square foot price tag.  Google has already indicated its interest in advancing technology to deliver gigabit+ internet speeds to communities (and directly to homes) across America in Google’s “Fiber for Communities” program.

With this acquisition, Google would now control one of the most important high-tech facilities and Internet interconnection hubs in the world.  I found a link that describes this facility perfectly:

“The property, the third largest building in New York City, is fast becoming one of the most important high-tech facilities in the world resting atop one of the main fiber optic hubs in New York City, the Hudson Street Ninth Avenue ‘fiber highway.’

111 Eighth Avenue houses sophisticated high tech telecommunications centers for major global telecommunications networks, including the busiest switching stations in the world. With a tenant list including BT Americas, MCI, Sprint, Level 3, Qwest, NTT, XO Communications, Cable & Wireless, it is widely acknowledged as New York City’s most important carrier hotel, the physical connection points of the world’s telecommunications networks and the World Wide Web. Known for its superior infrastructure, 111 Eighth Avenue offers your company unparalleled protection.”

In addition to the other benefits, this acquisition could also help Google ward off potential net-neutrality issues, such as the recent Netflix versus Comcast case (especially since they would now own all the leases to the facility that just about every Internet provider must somehow interconnect with).

It would also offer Google a strong hand in guiding the future direction of the Internet, along with a controlling interest in any and all traffic that is routed via this massive interconnection point. While this may seem scary at first, perhaps it could lead to good things in the future. We can only hope that Google continues on a path to make ever more powerful Internet-centric technology generally available to the world, while continuing to adhere to its informal prime directive: “Don’t Be Evil“.


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