Google is Developing a Wireless Alternative to Fibre Optic

Google Fiber became instantly popular when it was announced back in 2010. The US specific service, which provides high speed interne at affordable rates, was significantly better than the rest of the competition. Now it seems that maybe that was a bit too ambitious for Google.

Over the last several years, Google has worked with several communities to build fiber optic infrastructures that deliver up to 1000 Mbps of speed. This would let you stream videos instantly and download entire movies in seconds.

However, now it seems that Google has come to the realization that citywide fiber networks are expensive and time consuming. The company believes it has one solutions in mind that is to go wireless.


In an interview, Craig Barratt, the senior vice president at Alphabet who oversees Google Fiber and other projects spoke generally about the plans in an interview.

He didn’t reveal a timeline but he did say that they want to provide wireless Internet to homes where it wouldn’t make financial sense to build fiber. One of the advantages of wireless internet is that it allows you to reach houses that are in an area where building fiber is too expensive.

“We hope this technology can one day help deliver more abundant internet access” – Eric Schmidt, CEO Alphabet

Google has been testing the wireless technology in Kansas City, the first city where Google Fiber was launched.

Barratt emphasized that the plans were around fixed wireless internet and not mobile. The rollout will ultimately be much larger than what it is for the current wired network because as of now, Google Fiber is only in six cities.

That’s an average of one city per year.  By shifting to wireless, Google Fiber intends to speed up its roll out of internet services and also save money in the process.

Global Rollout?

Google Fiber is currently exclusive to the USA but by going wireless, it is a possibility that Fiber might be opened for other markets as well. In the USA, Google Fiber is the most popular broadband provider, at least where it’s available.

So if the attempts that are made to make it wireless are successful, then wireless may be the new way of providing internet access to all localities. As proven by Google Fiber, any type of wired media requires a lot of money, effort and infrastructural setup. Wireless may be the only feasible way of keeping the costs lower and cover more areas.

This is is especially true for emerging markets where most people have issues with a wide range of available service providers and the competition is slow to expand because of the limitation and cost associated with a wired roll out.

  • would be an awesome achievment.i would say,,,,we need internet for its better use and producing easiness in the cummunity life,,,,,

  • I think its perhaps going to take another half a century for wireless to takeover wired connections. Wired connections are always more reliable and are not disturbed by rains / storms etc. That off course is true if you are not using PeeeTCL.

  • Finally some sense. I hope similar sense prevails in Pakistan where Nayatel, Cybernet / StormFiber, Multinet / Optix, Transworld / TES, Mobilink / LDN are going crazy burning their money on deploying expensive and unsustainable fiber to the home FTTH. Wireless is the only economical solution in long term both from capex and opex perspective. Hope these companies will realize before it is too late and become zombies like Wateen and Worldcall.

    Optical Networking Consultant

    • um…. where have you been for last decade? we tried WiMax, it failed. Our current saviour is 3G/4G, and it is highly variable in speeds. If you want good latency, reliable connection, use fiber.

      • We have you been in the last year? Starting your argument through an insult is that the best you’ve got? Yes WiMAX failed world over. 4G is a major success and once these companies scale up it’ll destroy FTTH. 5G is on its way and will eat the carcasses off the local FTTH companies that remain.

        Verizon Fios is limiting its rollout and Google Fiber looking at wireless alternatives as stated in article. Facebook is looking to introduce witless solar drones. So wireless is far from dead thank you. The cost of deploying FTTH and acquiring customers is too slow, too expensive.

        A group of 14 city mayors on the East Coast asked Verizon to expand its FiOS FTTH network into more areas that have limited access to high speed services. However, Verizon has been adamant that it has no plans to extend FiOS into any new areas outside of those communities where it has established a franchise agreement to deliver service.

        Nayatel the lone FTTH player may have been one success in little Islamabad but the fart-all of customers they have, the WiMAX companies had 20 times FTTH has had. This Stormfiber Cybernet has brought or Optix by Multinet is in only in highly affluent communities and God only knows who explained the dead economics of the business. I’ve consulted in many a fiber rollout so quite familiar with the low latency and other features. But the fiber players ain’t seen anything yet. When 4G comes full scale with greater spectrum and 5G, fiber players are over. Recommend you try to understand the economics of both and the customer acquisition costs then you’ll understand.

        • The economics of USA cities is vastly different from economics of Pakistan. It can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to put in fiber for a few miles in some city centres in USA. Everyone here uses arial fiber for a reason. Also there are market distortions caused by preexisting contracts with cable companies and the fact that more than one cable company is willing to sue. In fact, isn’t it true that Verizon et al also sue cities that try to set up community/cheaper fiber? Vastly differnet regulatory environment when largest player will send lawyers after people who consider competitors.

          Well, we’ll see. Let’s see if 4G trumps fiber in Karachi, Lahore.

  • Zong 150 Mbps merely offers 3 to 4 Mbps in major areas of Karachi. It would take a lot of time in Pakistan to shift the medium from wired to wireless for the home users ,whereas, the expensive option for high speed wireless internet for enterprises working in rural areas would soon be available in Pakistan.

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