People loved the idea of Google Fiber when it was first announced in 2010. Superfast internet that’s 100 times faster than the norm — and it’s cheap? It sounded too good to be true.
But maybe that initial plan was a little too ambitious.
Over the last several years, Google has worked with dozens of cities and communities to build fiber optic infrastructure that can deliver Gigabit speeds to homes and neighborhoods — this would let you stream videos instantly or download entire movies in seconds.
But right now, introducing Google Fiber to any given town is a lengthy, expensive process. Google first needs to work with city leaders to lay the groundwork for construction, and then it needs to lay cables underground, along telephone lines, and in houses and buildings. This all takes time and money: Google has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on these projects, according to The Wall Street Journal, and the service is only available in just six metro areas (an average of one per year).
Given these barriers, Google Fiber is reportedly working on a way to make installation quicker, cheaper and more feasible. According to a new filing with the Federal Communications Commission earlier this month, Google has been testing a new wireless-transmission technology that “relies on newly available spectrum” to roll out Fiber much more quickly.
“The project is in early stages today, but we hope this technology can one day help deliver more abundant Internet access to consumers,” a Google spokesperson told Business Insider.
And, according to a new report in the Wall Street Journal, Google is looking to use this wireless technology in “about a dozen new metro areas, including Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas.”
Right now, Google Fiber customers can pay $70 a month for 1GBps speeds and an extra $60 per month for the company’s TV service. It’s unclear if this wireless technology will change the pricing scheme, but at the very least, this transitioning ought to help accelerate Fiber’s expansion and cut down on installation costs.
One of the company’s recent acquisitions could help this transition. Last month, Google Fiber bought Webpass, a company that knows how to wirelessly transmit internet service from fiber-connected antennas to antennas mounted on buildings. It’s a concept that’s pretty similar to Starry, another ambitious company that wowed us earlier this year with its plan for a superfast, inexpensive internet service.
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