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Google Begins Construction Of Super-Fast Broadband Network

Google Fibre has begun laying cable for its 1Gbps broadband network in Kansas, and will also be testing a Wi-Fi router

Google is ready to build out its high-speed fibre-optic network in Kansas, paving the way for the company to build thousands of miles of cables and other infrastructure across Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri.

The company selected Kansas City out of more than 1,100 companies last March as the winning bidder for its fibre network, which aims to shuttle data at 1Gbps to thousands of homes in the city.

Broadband fibre mesh

The cables themselves are composed of thin glass fibres, each about the width of a human hair. Woven together as part of a big broadband fibre mesh, the cable network will facilitate data at “speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have today”, according to Kevin Lo, general manager for Google Access.

Google will build the fibre backbone and then connect Google Fibre into homes across Kansas City, though it hasn’t said which neighborhoods will be connected first.

Google wants to test this speedy broadband network as a template for supporting gaming applications and other graphically intensive programs. Google’s own YouTube video-sharing service would benefit greatly from speedier data facilitation, generating more video views and more ads served.

Google’s fibre group has also asked the Federal Communications Commission to test a residential gateway equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. GigaOm said Google is asking the FCC for a licence to test upcoming 802.11ac gigabit WiFi technology inside residential gateways.

1Gbps speeds

At a time when most WiFi routers handle data at 600Mbps, the company wants to test new hardware that is optimised to handle the 1Gbps data speeds it is promising. According to Google’s application request:

Google Fibre seeks to test Bluetooth and Wi-Fi protocols and performance (including coordination of WiFi channels between devices and in the presence of foreign signals) within an integrated access point as part of a fibre residential gateway. This line of testing will reveal real-world engineering issues and reliability. The planned testing is not directed at evaluating the radio-frequency characteristics of the equipment (which are known), but rather at the throughput and stability of the home networks that will support the equipment, as well as its basic functionality.

“As we get ready to build Google Fibre, we’re experimenting with new technologies that will make Internet access better and faster for everyone,” a Google spokesperson told eWEEK.

Google declined to discuss more specifics about the device.

In the UK Sky last week announced plans to offer fibre-based broadband from this April in addition to extending its copper-based service to 88 per cent of the UK by the end of 2013.

The move into the fibre-based market will see the company offer speeds of up to 40Mbps, the same as BT currently offer – unsurprisingly, as it uses BT’s own fibre – but slower than Virgin’s 100Mbps connections. Sky’s Broadband Unlimited Fibre package will initially be available to 30 per cent of the UK, but coverage will increase as BT’s fibre roll-out spreads across the country.

Potential customers can expect to pay £32.50 per month for the superfast broadband service, inclusive of Sky’s £12.50 line rental, and the package will be “a totally unlimited product that has no usage caps”.