Google makes most of its money by showing ads to users of its online services. So it makes sense that the company has been exploring ways to help users get online, ranging from internet-delivered-by-hot-air-balloons to an unusual cellular service that lets subscribers access the internet using a range of mobile and WiFi networks.
But one of the company’s most ambitious projects has been an effort to bring gigabit internet service to communities through Google Fiber. Rollout has been relatively slow, though, and Google Fiber is only available in half a dozen US cities and metropolitan areas.
Now the Wall Street Journal reports that Google is exploring other ways to pipe high-speed internet service to homes and businesses.
According to the WSJ report, Google is finding that the process of “digging up streets and laying fiber-optic cables” is “more expensive and time consuming than anticipated.
So the company is said to be exploring other options such as leasing fiber from other networks or using wireless systems to deliver high-speed internet.
The report comes on the heels of an FCC filing form Google showing that the company plans to test wireless data transmission technology in up to 24 locations across the United States.
It also follows a similar WSJ report from June, when the chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, suggested that Google was looking at wireless internet.
It’s unclear if wireless service would be as fast or as reliable as a fiber optic service. But if Google can deliver broadband service that’s cheaper or faster (or both) than what’s offered by other internet service providers (ISPs) in an area, the competition could help drive down prices for everyone in a service area. And that’d be good news both for internet users and for Google… whether you’re actually using Google as an ISP or not.