While Google Fiber is slowly but surely growing, the company continues to eye wireless as a way to notably expand faster, cheaper broadband. In a conversation with ReCode, Access CEO Craig Barratt, who oversees Google Fiber, says the company is experimenting with a number of different wireless technologies to try and accomplish this goal. Among them is millimeter wave technology, which is what’s currently being used by newer wireless broadband startups like Starry.
While Google’s interest in wireless isn’t really secret, this is the first time a Google Fiber executive has (albeit vaguely) discussed the company’s wireless broadband ambitions.
“All of the initiatives and technologies are really meant to further our overall vision, which is really to create abundant and ubiquitous networks,” Barratt says. “While Fiber is the most visible of those business, all of those technologies that we re working on have the goal of trying to create networks that can provide better services to more people at better costs.”
Barratt was previously CEO Of Atheros Communications, now part of Qualcomm. Under Barratt’s guidance Google has filed applications with the FCC to conduct trials in the 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz millimeter wave bands, and is also conducting a variety of different tests in the 3.5 GHz band, the 5.8 GHz band and the 24 GHz band. Obviously some of this will be used for the last mile, and some will be used deeper in the network.
“In the cities where we are providing service and the cities where we re doing construction we re very serious about creating a service that customers will really love,” Barratt says. “Our initial experience, where we are serving customers in those cities, is really positive. Customers really view us as best in class. So we re very serious about providing a very competitive service in the markets that we re serving.”
Google’s giving no timeline on when its wireless broadband ambitions will be fully cooked, but it should provide another welcome avenue to bring competition to some notably over-comfortable industry incumbents.