Google Fibre last year cast its net across more US states, finally encompassing North Carolina’s Research triangle, contrary to the rumours that the company’s whole fibre initiative may have been sinking. The Triangle was actually Google’s eighth major incursion. It is already available in Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri; Nashville, Tennessee; Provo, Utah and Salt Lake City.
The incursion into North Carolina may serve to alleviate doubts over whether Google Fibre’s success, which had for several months previously, was still a ‘no brainer’. Also, the company itself is exhibiting a thorough interest in developing its wireless connectivity technology, leaving some to speculate that the doors may be closing on the Google Fibre train for good.
What’s the evidence to back this up?
In August of 2016, Google executives filed an Experimental Radio Service License that would essentially allow the company to provide high-speed wireless services to up to 24 U.S. cities, many of which are situated in the state of California, including: Atwater, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Bruno, San Francisco and San Jose. Further to these, Google is also seeking permission to test wireless in Boulder, Colorado; Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri; Omaha, Nebraska; Raleigh, North Carolina; Provo, Utah; and Reston, Virginia.
“The overarching concern regarding the granting of an experimental license is whether it will interfere with the operation of authorised devices and services,” explained FCC spokesperson Mark Wigfield. “Therefore, an experimental license will be coordinated with those responsible for all potentially affected stakeholders,” he told the E-Commerce Times.
“In this coordination process, an experimental license can be accepted as is, be modified to prevent interference, or be rejected,” Mark noted. “If approved, an experimental licensee must accept any interference from other parties, and must immediately stop operations if a complaint of interference is made.”
A shift in focus
Google Fibre’s acquisition of Webpass could well be viewed as a bid to accelerate its rollout of ultra-high speed broadband access. The company has struggled for years to gain footholds in local markets already dominated by rival broadband such as AT&T and Comcast
Webpass is a service that offers high-speed services of up to 1Gbps (gigabyte per second) to thousands of customers in the San Francisco Bay area, Chicago, Boston, San Diego, Miami and some of the surrounding areas.
This shift toward wireless broadband is a potentially canny one. Competitive broadband services in metropolitan areas suffer from some of the most ingrained dominance by a few established corporations in any sector.
Broadband analyst Craig Settles observes: “Google’s decision to put chips in the wireless game seems to have taken some folks in the industry by surprise, but why? Those of us involved in municipal broadband since the Philadelphia wireless days know that wireless is cheaper and faster to deploy, especially in urban areas,” he told the E-Commerce Times.
It seems that Google’s championed broadband service has become stagnated by the difficulty of physically rolling out the infrastructure and this may have caused the company, whose reputation is built on cutting edge decision making, to grasp a greater handful of the wireless connectivity coat tails before it too exits the party with the usual companions in tow.