Alphabet changes focus of high-speed internet to wireless

Google Fiber puts fibre projects on hold while turning attention to wireless technology

Google said: “We are working to test the viability of a wireless network that relies on newly available spectrum.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Google said: “We are working to test the viability of a wireless network that relies on newly available spectrum.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Alphabet is switching the focus of its high-speed internet plans to wireless technology, in order to accelerate a project to improve connections across the US that has taken six years to reach just six cities.

Google Fiber, Alphabet’s fibre-to-the-premises service in the United States is turning its attention to wireless, which requires less expensive and time-consuming construction work, and putting fibre projects on pause in Portland, Oregon, and San Jose in Silicon Valley. It is also changing its broadband strategy in the newest cities to join the programme.

The move comes after the company in June acquired Webpass, a wireless provider that operates in five major markets in the US including the Bay Area, California, and Chicago. The deal, for an undisclosed sum, was designed to help Google reach more cities more quickly.

Charles Barr, president of Webpass, said at the time of the acquisition that the company would remain focused “primarily on point-to-point wireless”, a simple network architecture that can range from connecting two locations just a few hundred metres apart to up to tens of miles away from each other.

Licence application

FCC filings also show that Google is applying for an experimental radio service licence.

Google said: “We are working to test the viability of a wireless network that relies on newly available spectrum. The project is in early stages today, but we hope this technology can one day help deliver more abundant internet access to consumers.”

Alphabet, now Google’s parent company, started Google Fiber to offer connection speeds up to 100 times faster than the average broadband connection, allowing both uploads and downloads of a gigabit of data a second.

– Copyright Financial Times Service 2016