Google has dropped yet another bomb - announcing suddenly that it's about to start building ultra-fast fibre-optic broadband networks in a selection of communities across the United States. It'll provide speeds of up to - get this - 1Gbps.

That's twenty times faster than the fastest service available in Britain today, and 500 times faster than the UK government's commitment for broadband access in Britain by 2012, which currently sits at a paltry 2Mbps. The speeds will be offered to at least 50,000, and potentially up to 500,000 people, says Google.

Google wants the development to spur people into building new applications that are bandwidth intensive, as well as spurring itself to experiment with deployment techniques. It's also a way of ensuring that net neutrality is maintained - by running the networks themselves, Google can dictate what's done with it.

But privacy advocates will no doubt have a field day with the suggestion that Google will be able to monitor the pipes, taking everything you send through them and using it to serve you adverts.

If you're a representative of a community in the USA, and you'd like to get involved, then Google has a form for you to fill out. The closing date is 26 March, and then the company will announce the locations that it'll be working with later in the year.