Google has applied to the FCC for permission to test an experimental wireless system. Is Google about to offer mobile broadband?
10 Best Business Tools In Google+
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Google has applied to the Federal Communications Commission for permission to test an experimental wireless system, a possible prelude to providing mobile data service on a broad scale.
Steven J. Crowley, a consulting wireless engineer, published a blog post about Google's application on Wednesday, noting that some of the application and exhibits have been designated confidential.
"We don't know yet exactly what Google is testing here," Crowley wrote. "It might be devices it created. I suspect, though, that this is a test of a network architecture or service, using existing equipment."
Google declined to comment, but its actions are telling. Earlier this month, Google began providing free public Wi-Fi in outdoor areas of the Chelsea neighborhood of New York, where its Manhattan office is located. Two months ago, it began providing residents of Kansas City, Kan., with Internet access through high-speed fiber-optic cable, presumably in preparation for a broader rollout. The company also provides free Wi-Fi in the areas around its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters and its data centers in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Berkeley, S.C.
For Google, providing Internet service offers a hedge against competitors that might interfere with its services and the potential of recurring subscription revenue.
Google intends to conduct its experiment using the 2524-2546 MHz and 2567-2625 MHz portions of the radio spectrum, which are allocated for mobile broadband service. These frequencies are licensed to Clearwire, Crowley observes, in which Google used to be an investor.
"It could be used to provide commercial Internet service," Crowley said in a phone interview. "I didn't see anything in the application that points to that. There aren't many facts in the case."
Crowley said that there's more bandwidth available in the spectrum range where Google will be conducting its tests than other carriers have to deploy their LTE services. Although Google omitted the emission designation on its FCC form, Crowley contends that the "FW9" code present on the form indicates the test involves LTE. He also said the spectrum being tested is more useful for short-range applications than long-distance communication. The architecture that Google is using requires many cells, he said.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Google could be preparing to deploy Wi-Fi hotspots for its Google Fiber subscribers.
The last time a Google FCC filing surfaced was in June 2012, when the company was granted an extension of its January 2012 filing to test a "next-generation personal communications device." Google also was testing "an entertainment device" at the time. The "entertainment device" turned out to be Google's Nexus Q streaming media appliance. It was introduced in June 2012 at Google I/O and abandoned four months later following criticism of its high price and lack of features.
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security EnterpriseTo learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
2017 State of IT ReportIn today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.