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Facebook stole the show this week with news of its initial public offering. But the news that should have been the big news didn’t quite get the same press.

Google has acquired a handful of patents and pending patents having to do with fiber optic technology. What could they possibly do with those?

Seeing as how they’ve already announced plans to introduce a fiber optic network in Kansas City, this patent transfer should have been the biggest news of the day. It has the potential to make a huge difference in how the Internet works all over the world.

Kansas City will likely be the first municipality in the world to offer high speed Internet by fiber optic as a city service. And if Google is successful with its fiber optic service in Kansas City, then they will likely introduce the same service to other cities. Eventually, there could be high speed fiber optic Internet everywhere in the world, courtesy of Google.

But who will pay for that? There are any number of ways that fiber optic Internet could be paid for. Cities and municipalities could foot the bill for local citizens. Or they may turn around and charge a fee for services in the same way that local phone companies do today. In either of those cases, fiber optic Internet service could be considered a utility.

Another way it could work is as a free service from Google. Now why would Google offer free Internet access to the entire world?

If more people are online, shopping, building businesses, etc., that will lead to more click-throughs on Google’s paid ad networks. More advertisers means more revenues for Google over the long run.

I’m not saying any of these scenarios is the right one. They’re just possibilities. But I could see any of them playing out. The real news, however, is that high speed fiber optic Internet would benefit everyone – consumers, online marketers, and Google as Internet service provider.