Google’s white space wireless database approved by FCC

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The FCC has approved Google’s “white space” database operation. This will allow for the company to operate a wireless broadband network with unlicensed TV broadcast spectrum. There are currently 10 other companies working on similar networks, but Google is the latest to complete the Federal Communications Commission’s 45-day testing period. The database will keep track of the TV broadcast frequencies in use so that other wireless broadband devices can take advantage of what’s not being used.

“If a government communications system does not require spectrum at specific times, that spectrum can be freed up for commercial purposes during those times. With dynamic sharing, multiple users, including federal, non-federal and commercial entities, can all access available bands of radio spectrum,” Google wrote.

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Google unveils latest moonshot: balloon-powered Internet access

We’ve seen several reports of Google wanting to bring Internet access to emerging-countries, and the company has now announced a project that will greatly help it accomplish that goal. In a post on the official Google blog,  Mike Cassidy announced the next “moonshot” from Google’s mysterious X lab, balloon-powered Internet access.

Google believes that it might be possible to build a ring of balloons that travel around the globe on the stratospheric winds and provide Internet service to the earth below. The company does warn us that this idea is still in the very early days of development, but says that it has built a system that uses balloons carried by winds at altitudes as high as planes and beams Internet at speeds as fast or faster than current 3G networks.  Read more

Report: Google planning to develop wireless networks, low-cost Android devices for emerging markets

Google-internet-fiber

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Google is now in the middle of a new project that will see the company develop wireless networks in emerging countries including sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Google plans on teaming up with local companies to develop the wireless networks, which are said to use airwaves normally reserved for TV, but will first have to get government approvals:

Some of those efforts revolve around using certain airwaves reserved for TV broadcasts to create wireless networks, but only if government regulators allowed it, these people said. Google has long been involved in public trials to prove the technology—which operates at lower frequencies than some cell networks, allowing signals to be more easily transmitted through buildings and other obstacles and across longer distances—can work. And it has begun talking to regulators in countries such as South Africa and Kenya about changing current rules to allow such networks to be built en masse.

The report mentions that Google is also “building an ecosystem of new microprocessors and low-cost smartphones powered by its Android mobile operating system to connect to the wireless networks,” although it didn’t offer up any other specific information on the devices.

It also points out a Google X project that takes advantage of “special balloons or blimps, known as high-altitude platforms, to transmit signals to an area of hundreds of square miles,” but it’s unclear whether or not the two projects are connected. Read more

Talking Schmidt: “Google is a capitalist country … company”

Google's Eric Schmidt in Burma

In the fifth installment of our continuing series Talking Schmidt we bring you the most insightful lines from Google Chairman Eric Schmidt.

Schmidt, who is promoting his new book The New Digital Age with his coauthor Jared Cohen, responded to UK politician Ed Miliband’s call for “responsible capitalism” earlier this week.

He reminded Miliband that Google is a country… ahem, company powered by profit and projects like wearable computing and self-driving cars better serve Google than forfeiting more of its profits to various governments.

“Google is a capitalist country … company,” he corrected himself, to laughter from the audience. “It’s easy to say you would like us to have to have less profits and have that somewhere else. We will comply with the letter of the law, but we’re trying to avoid being doubly and triply taxes, which would prevent us investing in some of the wilder things we do.”

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Talking Schmidt: Don’t Be Evil is “the stupidest rule ever”

(Businessweek / Peg Korpinski)

(Businessweek / Peg Korpinski)

In our continuing series Talking Schmidt we bring you the most insightful lines from Google Chairman Eric Schmidt.

Schmidt, who is promoting his new book The New Digital Age, spoke with NPR over the weekend on the Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! program in a rather lighthearted appearance.

NPR host Peter Sagal asked the executive chairman how much Google knew about its users at the top of show, which prompted Schmidt to admit, “Well, as much as you’ll let us know.”

Schmidt also mentioned that the company really doesn’t quite know the definition of evil, from its famous slogan “Don’t Be Evil,” and that he thought it was “the stupidest rule ever” when he joined the company.

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Following Google, AT&T announces plans for 1 gigabit per second network in Austin, Texas

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Following Google’s announcement that it will bring its speedy Google Fiber network to Austin, Texas, in mid-2014, AT&T has created competition by announcing it plans to bring fiber-optic internet connectivity to the Lone Star state as well.

Today, AT&T announced that in conjunction with its previously announced Project VIP expansion of broadband access, it is prepared to build an advanced fiber optic infrastructure in Austin, Texas, capable of delivering speeds up to 1 gigabit per second.  AT&T’s expanded fiber plans in Austin anticipate it will be granted the same terms and conditions as Google on issues such as geographic scope of offerings, rights of way, permitting, state licenses and any investment incentives. This expanded investment is not expected to materially alter AT&T’s anticipated 2013 capital expenditures.

AT&T says it believes it will be granted the same privileges as Google in this regard. The full press release is available below:

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