Google looks at wireless rollout for US cities - Mobile World Live

Google looks at wireless rollout for US cities

10 JUN 2016

Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt told investors he had met senior colleagues to discuss Google Fiber using wireless technology as a cheaper, radical alternative to laying high-speed cable.

Speaking at the company’s annual shareholder meeting, Schmidt was quizzed about the progress of its network-building unit.

He answered that he met CEO Larry Page, CFO Ruth Porat and others to discuss “wireless solutions that are point-to-point, that are inexpensive now because of the improvements in semiconductors that [mean] these point-to-point solutions are cheaper than digging up your garden and so forth.” He added that such technology was capable of gigabit speeds.

Schmidt declined to add anything further. “We don’t have anything to announce there”.

However, the mention of using wireless technology as an alternative to fibre is intriguing, and potentially has far-reaching consequences for Google Fiber’s strategy.

Currently, Alphabet is investing heavily in laying physical infrastructure in the ground, on which it spent hundreds of millions of dollars last year. Google Fiber is present in five cities:  Kansas City, Provo, Atlanta, Nashville and Austin.

Including upcoming and potential cities as well as those where it is already present, Google Fiber has 22 cities in its sights.

The original questioner at the shareholder meeting also suggested Google was talking to an investor which might also be a potential customer. Schmidt sidestepped that part of the question.

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Richard Handford

Richard is the editor of Mobile World Live’s money channel and a contributor to the daily news service. He is an experienced technology and business journalist who previously worked as a freelancer for many publications over the last decade including...

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