Alphabet is aiming to expand its Internet connectivity service beyond laying cables for its Google Fiber. It's toying with the idea of beaming wireless service to homes.
Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt told investors at the company's annual shareholder meeting Wednesday how a wireless Internet service would be a substantially cheaper and less complex than laying cables for high-speed broadband, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Alphabet's Google Fiber, which launched in 2012, is currently laying cable across America to build out its Internet service. But in Kansas City, Mo., the first market to receive Google Fiber, the company is testing the concept of delivering wireless Internet to homes, Schmidt told shareholders.
Google is employing several different wireless technologies as part of its pilot, and users may need to operate special devices in their homes to communicate with the wireless signals, according to the Journal. The report also noted that Schmidt pointed to improvements in semiconductors that allow for wireless signals to make point-to-point connections accurately.
Schmidt's comments build on a presentation the company made to Kansas City officials in April, in which it outlined its Google Fiber wireless network plans.
In its presentation, Google pointed out that the exponential growth of smartphones and demand for data services like video streaming would soon exhaust current network capacity and "all available spectrum," used to transmit wireless signals. As a result, the Federal Communications Commission last year developed new rules to allow dynamic spectrum sharing, in which mobile broadband service companies would share spectrum with the military.
The company says it plans to begin testing wireless internet to homes and network integration in November, according to its Kansas City presentation. Later next year, Google says it hopes to determine the viability of 3.5GHz spectrum for network sharing.
In terms of the speed that Alphabet envisions for users of its Google Fiber wireless service, Schmidt said the company believes it can provide 1 gigabit per second, which is similar to its current Google Fiber speeds through cable, the Journal noted.
Alphabet is not the only tech titan with an eye toward delivering wireless internet to users. Facebook's internet connectivity initiative Internet.org last year struck a deal with French satellite company Eutelsat to provide wireless Internet to remote areas of Africa.
In Facebook's case, it said teaming with an existing satellite partner is a faster way to market and to building its own wireless internet service.Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio