Google may soon be changing the game yet again with a new Internet service called Google Fiber. One of the world’s most powerful and influential companies will soon be strengthening its grasp on providing Internet access, as well as making it easier for users to access WiFi in various locations throughout the country.
Few know that Google entered the WiFi game back in 2006 when it created free Internet for Mountain View, California residents, where the company is currently based. Over 500 streetlights in the town now hold WiFi hotspots for its residents. However, with the rise of smart phone and tablet use at the time, the company struggled to keep up with demand. According to tech website Engadget, Google is currently working to strengthen its connectivity in the city, and has announced plans to expand a new type of WiFi system in more cities throughout the US, only more powerful.
The company’s plan is to roll out high-speed service in at least 34 more cities among eight states, which could prove to be its biggest challenge yet. Some of the larger cities targeted include San Antonio, Portland, San Jose, Atlanta, and Salt Lake City. Coined Google Fiber, it’s only available in three cities in Kansas, Missouri and Utah. Google Fiber claims to be up to 100 times faster than many broadband services already offered. A recent study from Akamai Technologies on the state of the Internet reports that the average broadband speed is 9.8 megabits per second. Google Fiber is clocked at 1,024 megabits. This reportedly provides enough speed to purchase and download a movie on a user’s device in less than 2 minutes. According to the company, prices for the service are comparable or below what many households already pay for Internet service, starting at $70 per month.
Before Google can implement these major plans for Internet domination, they must first work out plans with city infrastructures and foresee possible obstacles in providing service. The project would require laying fiber optic-cables underground, which could prove to be difficult on a city-by-city basis. The company says if it runs into too many difficulties, it could forgo a city.
In the more immediate future, Google is reportedly developing an app that will make it easier for users to connect to WiFi from their mobile devices. The app, which is being developed for iOS and Android devices, will automatically authenticate and connect to free hot spots. For example, when a user of the app walks into a Starbucks store, which currently offers free WiFi on AT&T, they no longer have to login and wait to join the network.
Engadget said there’s no guarantee that release of the app is official, but that it is currently trialing the program at its Mountain View headquarters.
By Nathan Rohenkohl