Google Fiber is targeting the Triangle as one of the metro areas where it is asking the FCC for permission to test an experimental wireless system as a means to provide ultra-fast Internet service.

In a recent filing with the Federal Communications Commission, Google says it is seeking “expeditious” approval for tests in as many as 24 markets over a period of two years. However, the filing is heavily redacted at Google’s request, citing competitive concerns.

Google “requests authorization to conduct radio experiments in support of developing Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) technologies, using [REDACTED] experimental transmitters at up to 24 U.S. locations,” the filing made on Aug. 5 reads.”The experimental authorization is sought for a period of 24 months.”

Google identified Raleigh as one of the target markets along with its home city of Mountain View, Calif., San Francisco, San Jose, Kansas City and numerous other sites.

Testing already is underway in Kansas City, one of the first cities targeted for Google Fiber, according to media reports.

Google Fiber already faces a growing number of competitors in the Triangle who are already deploying networks and providing service. Among them are AT&T and Frontier Communications.

Less costly, faster deployment?

The filing comes as news reports have surfaced saying that Google is seeking a less-costly and faster way to deploy gigabit-speed Internet without having to install fiber-optic cables either in ground or on utility poles.

Google has recently delayed in-ground fiber construction in Mountain View and other areas, The San Jose Mercury news reported this week.

Google Fiber has already worked with a number of Triangle-area municipalities, including Raleigh, for approval to install “fiber huts” needed to support a cable network.

However, even though Google Fiber began laying fiber networks more than a year ago the company has been very secretive about deployment plans.

Charlotte became the latest Google Fiber market in July and the company assured WRAL TechWire that access would be made available in the Triangle in the near future.

“Small cell” technology

Google Fiber is seeking to use so-called “small cell” wireless networks in spectrum that the FCC is making available for what Google describes as “shared use.”

According to the Small Cell forum, “small cells is an umbrella term for operator-controlled, low-powered radio access nodes, including those that operate in licensed spectrum and unlicensed carrier-grade Wi-Fi. Small cells typically have a range from 10 meters to several hundred meters.”

“Rather than allocating the 3.5 GHz band to a single use, the [FCC] rightly decided to allow shared use of the spectrum. Users of the spectrum might, for instance, deploy ‘small cell’ networks that can carry heavy loads of data in high-traffic areas—such as crowded stadiums—or offer fixed wireless broadband services in rural areas,” the filing reads.

“The additional spectrum that is now available in the 3.5 GHz band will also help relieve Wi-Fi congestion—improving the experience of consumers accessing the Internet over wireless broadband.”

Google noted that it already has a spectrum access system, or SAS, under development.

“The proposed experimentation will allow Google to perform propagation, [REDACTED] testing [REDACTED]. Data obtained from these tests will be reflected in the design of Google’s commercial SAS, which is currently under development to serve users in the new CBRS [Citizens Broadband Radio Service] band,” it said.

“More abundant” access

Google Fiber confirmed the testing to news web site Business Insider.

“We are working to test the viability of a wireless network that relies on newly available spectrum,” a spokesperson said.

“The project is in early stages today, but we hope this technology can one day help deliver more abundant Internet access to consumers.”

Earlier this year, Google acquired Webpass, a provider of wireless Internet technology.

Read the FCC filing at: