Google Fiber is Alphabet Inc.’s attempt at providing fast wireless by connecting consumers with high-speed fiber optic cables. Google Fiber claims download and upload speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s, about 30 times higher than average internet speeds in the United States. First introduced in Kansas City back in 2012, the project has seen a rather slow growth, with service being available in only six metro cities until now. The project is plagued with a lot of challenges and budgetary constraints and has already stalled ongoing work at San Jose, California, and Portland, Oregon. The company has been trying to utilize existing connections and getting the municipality to build the infrastructure to provide high-speed internet to users. And now, to further lower costs, Google Fiber is looking into using wireless transmission to provide their services.
Google Fiber’s recent acquisition, Webpass, appears to be a part of Google Fiber’s plans to roll out their wireless services in the following cities: Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas. Webpass is an internet service provider which operates in five major American markets including Chicago, and uses wireless technology to beam high-speed data to consumers. According to recent reports from regulatory filings, Google Fiber is testing the new connection technology in 24 different locations across the US. According to Google, these tests are in early stages.
The transmission speeds of wireless networks to be operated by Google Fiber, and whether it will support Gigabit speeds is still unknown. It has been reported that the frequency used by Google for their wireless networks will be slightly higher than conventional wireless networks. According to Alphabet Inc.’s chairman Eric Schmidt, millimeter wave technology might also be used to deploy wireless internet services. In a recent stockholder meeting, Eric hinted at the fact that setting up wireless networks are a lot cheaper than laying cables to connect users to the internet.
The shift to wireless is accompanied by other efforts from Google Fiber to reduce costs, as the company is looking into leasing unused lines in various cities, connecting apartments and urging cities to build the network infrastructure. Google Fiber currently charges $70 a month for internet and an additional $60 for TV subscription. The Other Bets division (in which Google Fiber belongs) reported a revenue of $185 million in the most recent quarter, with an operating loss of $859 million. The high expenditures made by Google Fiber might have prompted the company to look into cost-saving methods of providing high-speed internet. Google Fiber hopes to recover the investment and earn profits by the revenue from subscription and additional ad-clicks as the service covers a wider area.