In the six years since it was launched, Google Fiber has only expanded to three metropolitan areas, and even though it’s working on expanding to another six, that’s still an unbearably slow pace. You shouldn’t be upset with Google, however, because it takes a ridiculous amount of resources to build or buy the infrastructure required to provide internet service to people. That’s why the company is currently experimenting with a number of wireless technologies that it hopes will allow it to beam internet access to people’s homes, rather than delivering it to them through physical cables that require tons of money to place and maintain.
For the last five years, Google Fiber has been making traditional internet service providers shake in their boots all across the US. However, those serving more rural areas have felt pretty secure in their quasi-monopolies since the infrastructure construction required to bring Fiber into these areas would just be a financial nightmare for the search giant. It seemed like ISP’s could kind of kick up their boots and relax out in the sticks. That is, until now. Today in an interview with Re/code, senior vice president of Alphabet Craig Barratt explained that Alphabet is planning on providing fixed wireless internet to places where Fiber would be too expensive to roll out. Barratt, who oversees Alphabet’s Access and Energy division and Fiber-related projects, said that the company is “experimenting with a number of different wireless technologies” to make this vision a reality. Historically, the kind of wireless networks that have aimed to replace cable in places where running out physical lines wasn’t feasible have proven to be significantly slower than their landline counterparts. But Google is experimenting with some innovative wireless technology, and they recently filed with the Federal Communications Commission to gain authorization to use spectrum in the 3.5GHz band. The company is already testing this technology in Kansas City, which is the first place to ever get the company’s much-lauded gigabit-per-second internet service.