Google Fiber is great, but it’s not moving quickly. Google has only rolled it out to a handful of locations across the US due to the time and effort it takes to get a fiber network going. However, according to Eric Schmidt, Alphabet is looking into some tech that might help to speed up Google Fiber’s expansion.
The technology is millimeter wave broadcasting and essentially acts as gigabit WiFi. It would make it easier to connect homes and buildings to Google’s Fiber network, all without laying expensive cables that also require groundwork.
Gigabit WiFi isn’t perfect, though. It’s high frequency, which means the signal can carry more information for very long distances, but building penetration is a serious problem. Still, that’s a small caveat and it’s something that might be able to be developed around. Other systems use the tech to replace the last-mile of their networks, which doesn’t completely make the network wireless but it does help offset some of the cost at the tail end of installations.
Alphabet isn’t the only one digging into millimeter wave networks, with Facebook developing their own version called Terragraph WiFi. Obviously Facebook isn’t going to begin rolling out a national fiber network to compete with Google Fiber, but they are interested in the same thing that Alphabet and Google are; get more people connected to the internet as cheaply as possible. Hopefully this means we something tangible come out of these experiments.