Google Wants To Build An Experimental Wireless Network Over Mountain View Campus


Google has applied for a license to build a wireless network over its headquarters in Mountain View, California. The company submitted an application to the Federal Communication Commission last week requesting permission for an “experimental radio service” that would cover a two-mile radius around its building.

Some analysts believe the move could be the start of numerous dense and “superfast” Google wireless networks in other locations.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google’s small-scale network would use frequencies that wouldn’t be compatible with nearly any of the consumer mobile devices that exist today, such as those powered by the company’s own Android platform. Instead, the network would provide coverage for devices that are designed to access frequencies from 2,524 MHz to 2,625 MHz.

Those frequencies, which could work well in heavily populated areas because they’re so unique, could be very important to Google’s future. China, Brazil, and Japan are already building networks that use them, which means that at some point, there will need to be devices that support them.

The wireless frequencies would be controlled by Clearwire, according to Google’s application, which means they are part of a licensed spectrum. Google doesn’t currently have control of a license spectrum of its own.

What’s unclear is whether Google is building the network for its own internal use or as part of a potential offering for consumers. Although the company’s application is confidential, and doesn’t reveal too much information, it does say that the first deployment of its proposed network will occur inside a specific building on Google’s campus.

That building houses the Google Fiber team — part of the Google Access unit — which has introduced super-fast broadband to Kansas, and started rolling out free Wi-Fi in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood. This indicates that Google proposed network could be part of a similar service.

Piecyk of BTIG believes it could be the start of a new wireless service for Google Fiber customers, which would allow its subscribers in Kansas City to enjoy high-speed Internet on their tablets and other devices anywhere in the city. Piecyk also noted that Motorola, which is now owned by Google, could be tasked with building devices compatible with the network’s frequencies.

If Piecyk is right, the service would be similar to that offered by cable companies like Time Warner Cable, which is setting up Wi-Fi hotspots in certain cities that its customers can use for free. This is becoming a popular service in the United Kingdom, where almost all carriers and broadband providers offer their customers free access to Wi-Fi hotspots while they’re out and about.