Friday, September 21, 2007

Google WiFi and Radio

Google seems to be very interested in the 700-MHz radio spectrum auction by the FCC. Should Google bid, and win, they will then have the rights to establish wireless communication.

As a technology consultant,I find this interesting because of a few other things Google is already working on, like the Google Wireless Phone. In case you did not know, Google has been developing a wireless phone, although the exact details of this remain sketchy. Based on what information is available and theories by industry insiders, Google is looking to provide free wireless phone service for consumers; which will be paid for by advertising revenue.

Google has also been buying unused fiber optic networks (dark fiber) for several years. It is my belief that if Google wins the auction for the 700MHz band, they will then light-up this fiber network they have been working on and establish nodes, or wireless access points, and then tie their phone service into the “Google Net.” Google has already tried to establish WiFi networks, which would be free for consumers, in San Francisco. So, we know they see much value in wireless access points in metropolitan locations.

How does this relate to radio broadcasting? Should this Google plan be implemented, wireless Internet access may soon be widely available to the masses; which, could be a huge enabler for Internet-based radio stations. You could have streaming feeds directly to your cell phone, PDA, or even an Internet-Ready car radio. Would this change the way Radio stations function? I don’t think it would spell the end of radio as we know it, but it may force certain changes and revenue models.

Here are some links for your consumption:

Google WiFi in San Fran.

Cities turning off plans for Wi-Fi

Belleville Received Grant for Public WiFi

Google Phone

Google’s interest in the 700MHz band

Google’s desire for fiber networks

Sun Microsystems “Black box” (Portable data center)

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