Google Says It's Very 'Serious' About Gigabit Wireless | DSLReports, ISP Information: Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt told shareholders during the company's annual meeting on Wednesday that Google Fiber is extremely "serious" about using fiber as an additional avenue to deliver additional broadband competition to stagnant markets. "To give you an idea of how serious this is," Schmidt stated the executive had a "lengthy" meeting on Tuesday with Alphabet CEO Larry Page and Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat to discuss the company's wireless ambitions.Those ambitions include testing the viability of millimeter wave technologies and 3.5 GHz wireless broadband as part of an ongoing trial in Kansas City. "There appears to be a wireless solutions that are point to point that are inexpensive now because of the improvements in semiconductors," Schmidt said. "These point to point solutions are now cheaper than digging up your garden and so forth."
Fixed premise wireless IP certainly costs a lot less to deliver telecom services to homes and small businesses. But it's no magic bullet and there's a cost tradeoff involved. The physics of radio frequency spectrum impose a natural limit on throughput as more premises share the available spectrum. That means Google Fiber will have to push its fiber relatively close to premises to feed lots of microcells in order to offer quality service that won't degrade like that of a busy coffeehouse or hotel when lots of guests are on the establishment's WiFi service. The constraints are explained by Google's Milo Medin in comments he made at the 2013 Broadband Communities Summit, excerpted in a post on this blog (See No. 2). Higher radio frequencies like the referenced millimeter wave technology can carry more data. But the tradeoff there is they are easily obscured by buildings, flora and terrain, severely limiting its viability as a premise IP delivery technology.
It will be interesting to see how Google Fiber negotiates the tradeoffs if it continues to pursue this.