Google Fiber will delay plans to deploy gigabit fiber-to-the-home in the San Jose, California area, reports local media outlet San Jose Mercury News. The company reportedly is seeking less costly deployment alternatives. Some industry observers speculate that the Google Fiber delay means the company is exploring wireless alternatives for providing high-speed broadband service.
That would seem to be a likely scenario considering that Google Fiber’s parent company Alphabet recently acquired fixed wireless gigabit service provider Webpass. The Webpass offering reportedly uses a mixture of licensed and unlicensed spectrum over a wide frequency band. But Google may be most interested in the 3.5 GHz band, as the company has been experimenting with that band in Kansas City.
An Impending Broadband Wireless Boom?
The Google Fiber delay isn’t the only sign that interest in fixed broadband wireless may be increasing. The FCC recently freed up spectrum between 3550 and 3700 MHz, also known as the 3.5 GHz band, for use on a licensed and unlicensed basis – and the band is widely expected to be used for fixed wireless broadband.
Meanwhile, Verizon has been particularly bullish about the possibility of using 5G wireless technology to support fixed wireless broadband, as recent comments from Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam illustrate. The potential of fixed wireless broadband also could explain the company’s sudden interest in possibly participating in the Connect America Fund, after passing on CAF broadband funding three times previously.
It’s not clear how long the Google Fiber delay in the San Jose area is likely to last, but the Mercury News referenced “up to six months or more.”