Google Trials Could Create Wireless Alternative To Fibre

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Google reportedly plans to test out millimetre frequency trials in California

Google is to hold spectrum trials in California to determine whether the company can offer superfast broadband comparable to its fibre service in the US without the need to lay physical cables, according to a report.

Reuters says the search giant has filed an application with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to hold a 180 day test at three locations in California; one in San Mateo County and two at its campus in Mountain View.

The trials will use the 5.8GHz and 24.2GHz bands as well as the millimetre wave bands of 71-76GHz and 81-86GHz. Millimetre bands are rarely used but are capable of transmitting large quantities of data over short distances.

Google wireless trials

Google fibreConnections require a direct line of sight, but in theory, the use of multiple transmitters on top of buildings could work just as well as fibre. The trials will start on 13 November, but it is believed no data will be sent using the networks, as Google is keen to see how well the signals travel over different distances and terrains.

The FCC is due to hold a meeting to discuss the possibility of using millimetre frequencies for data services and what the agency’s role should be in the development of the technology, but Google will hope its plans will give it a head start over the competition.

Google has built or is in the process of building Fibre To The Premise (FTTP) networks in 34 US cities, and with experts suggesting that the radio technology outlined in its application is the closest thing possible to fibre, millimetre frequencies could make the rollout of superfast broadband cheaper and quicker, posing a serious threat to existing cable providers.

It had been reported earlier this year that Google was planning to bring ‘Google Fiber’ to the UK and had discussed a potential partnership with Gigabit network provider CityFibre. However it refuted such reports, claiming it had no “serious plans” to bring 1Gbps speeds to these shores at present.

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