Google Fiber Slowing Its Roll, May Mean More Fixed Wireless

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Is Google Fiber rethinking the future? Google has reportedly delayed fiber roll-outs in three cities in California: San Jose, Mountain View and Palo Alto. ReTHINK-Wireless noted that fiber installers were told that “Google was going to re-evaluate this whole project because they were thinking of going aerial,” which means more fixed wireless, if the latest deals can serve to predict the future.

Google has acquired fixed wireless provider Webpass, founded in 2003, a move that ReTHINKWireless said could mean exploration of “lower cost wireless methods to bring broadband to U.S. homes and disrupt the incumbent telcos and cablecos.” Fixed wireless has a lower upfront cost, and Webpass specifically does not rely on telcos or MSOs for “backhaul for the point-to-point wireless links, in high frequency spectrum, that constitute the bulk of its network.” Webpass’ customers enjoy between 100 Mbps to one Gbps of speed. 

ReTHINK reported that Google Fiber may have showed its hand in wanting to marry fiber and wireless in April, when it tested broadband services in a 3.5 GHz band in pre-existing fiber network areas of Kansas City.

Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google’s holding company Alphabet, told a recent shareholder meeting: “There appear to be wireless solutions that are point-to-point that are inexpensive now because of the improvements in semiconductors; that these solutions are cheaper than digging up your garden…and can carry the gigabit performance.”

While Google Fiber is live in several major cities like Atlanta, Nashville and Provo, Utah, talks with the slower rollouts planned aren’t over. However, future deployment, for high-speed internet, a Fiber spokesperson told ReTHINK, would need to be “in alignment with our product roadmap”, and take “local challenges” into account.

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