Google’s parent Alphabet wants to beam super-fast Wi-Fi directly into your home instead of laying expensive cables
On Wednesday, Chairman Eric Schmidt at Google parent-company Alphabet’s annual shareholders meeting announced that Google is working on ultra-high-speed internet access that can be beamed directly to consumers’ homes.
The new technology is cheaper and could allow Google to bypass the extremely high cost of directly connecting physical fiber optic cables to households and businesses. That process is slow and often involves digging up customers’ yards.
However, thanks to improved computer chips and accurate “targeting of wireless signals,” Alphabet executives believe they can transfer internet connections at 1 gigabit per second — the same speed Google Fiber promises with its fiber-optic network, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“To give you an idea of how serious this is,” Schmidt told shareholders, he met with Alphabet Chief Executive Larry Page, Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat and others on Tuesday to discuss the technology.
Currently, fiber optic cable connections are the only way internet service providers can give customers ultra-high speeds. Although 5G and other similar technologies have the capability to deliver super-fast speeds over the air, they still have a long way to go.
Google Fiber has previously disclosed that it is testing wireless technology in Kansas City, the first city to receive its high-speed internet service, and hopes to have a demonstration network operating there by next year. It is testing “several wireless technologies,” which could require users to have special devices in their homes to receive the wireless signals.
Alphabet is exploring wireless technologies as a way to reduce the complexity and cost of connecting users to high-speed internet without the trouble of laying down any wire would be a boon for Google, which depends on people going online to use its services.
Schmidt also highlighted several technologies that Alphabet views as promising in coming years, including plant-based imitation meat, three-dimensionally printed buildings, virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it,” he said. “We start from that premise here at Alphabet.”
Michael Passoff, the CEO of Proxy Impact, a shareholder-advocacy group, said Google “lags its peers in addressing gender-pay disparity” and pushed Schmidt to release more complete data on pay for men and women at Google, reports the WSJ. In a tense exchange, Schmidt said he wouldn’t commit to releasing a report on the issue—a proposal voted down earlier—but “would work to convince you this is true.”