Google applies for 3.5GHz testing at FCC maybe for its own Project Fi network

The race to gigabit home internet speeds has been on for years and conventional ISPs have only recently attempted to respond to Google’s expansion of its Fiber service by (finally) improving their services. Could the search giant also be looking to shake up the cellular industry as well?

Well, with an FCC application to vaguely “operate in and adjacent to” the 3.5GHz band of shared-use spectrum for “experimentation”, it definitely could seed a native footprint for its Project Fi service — perhaps with 5G infrastructure from scratch — and not have to piggy back off of three existing networks in the US.

Alas, most of Google’s plans are redacted. We do know that LTE will be involved as Mountain View is asking for permission to experiment with transmitting base stations to send LTE signals to “end user devices,” be it for Project Fi or perhaps Google Fiber home-based routers for bolstered service that could “help relieve Wi-Fi congestion — improving the experience of consumers accessing the Internet over wireless broadband.”

Here’s a pertinent bit on the plans, as copied directly from the FCC application.

  • Propagation Testing: Google will use both a simple continuous wave (CW) tone and a broadband signal to understand the effects of clutter loss, differential fading, multipath, and other propagation phenomena. To test [REDACTED], Google will use a mobile receiving station [REDACTED]. Google may also position [REDACTED]. In each local test area, Google will generally operate only [REDACTED] while conducting propagation tests.
  • Testing of [REDACTED]: Google will test [REDACTED]. In Atlanta, Austin, and Provo, Google will use [REDACTED].
  • [REDACTED] Testing: Google will [REDACTED]. [REDACTED].
  • [REDACTED] Testing: Google will investigate [REDACTED].

We do know that testing — strictly by Google employees and affiliates — will be coming mostly to areas where the company offers, plans on offering or could potentially offer Fiber service. But the inclusion of Atwater, California, Reston, Virginia, and Omaha, Nebraska, do raise questions about this development being just about Fiber as all three cities are not even candidate areas for Fiber.

Keeping as much of the operations under wraps with redacted content and vague wording is to be expected. We’ll see if any fruit grows here.

Source: FCC

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About The Author
Jules Wang
Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.