Google will build an experimental fibre network in the US to test out new broadband technologies.
It will roll out an access network offering customers 1Gbps at commercial prices to up to 500,000 people, Google announced on the company blog Wednesday.
The company says it has no plans to become an ISP but that its goal is to “experiment with new ways to help make internet access better and faster.”
Google seems likely to play the role of a wholesaler or infrastructure provider, offering an open-access network that allows users their choice of service providers.
“We are not getting into the ISP or broadband business,” Richard S. Whitt, Google’s Washington telecom and media counsel, told the New York Times.“This is a business model nudge and an innovation nudge.”
Google said it would use the network to test new deployment technologies and next-generation apps.
Minnie Ingersoll, a product manager for alternative access at Google, said the scheme followed Google’s work on the US National Broadband Plan.
“Some of that advocacy includes saying the government should set up testbeds to set up super-fast connections, so we said, ‘How about we step up and put our money where our mouth is and offer one of these high-speed test beds ourselves?’” she said in an interview with GigaOm.
The company won’t say how much it will invest in the project, and Ingersoll said it was not seeking tax breaks.
It was now looking for communities willing to partner with Google on the broadband projects.
“One of the things we learned from municipal Wi-Fi is we need to have an engaged, excited community,” Ingersoll said.