Over the summer we moved to another area and decided to cut the cable cord. Even with downgraded internet service we’re still able to stream shows. Downloads sometimes take a little while, but it isn’t the end of the world. I did some research to see if there are any other providers in the area with faster speeds. The only other company that services the area uses radio signals to offer high speed wireless internet. I pictured a giant wireless router on top of a building somewhere, but the idea isn’t all that crazy. Unfortunately they don’t offer anything faster than what I currently have so switching right now doesn’t make sense, but I’m intrigued with the technology.
Google has been installing fiber in cities like Kansas City, Austin, and Atlanta. They continue to expand to new cities, but it is slow to implement due to having to dig trenches to lay the fiber and also fight with incumbent providers over utility poles. Earlier this month, Google applied for an experimental 3.5GHz license in Kansas City through the FCC with plans for similar testing in other cities. This is basically in response of the FCC creating the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) earlier this year, making 150MHz available for mobile broadband and other commercial uses. The high band spectrum has the capacity to carry large amounts of data, delivering mobile broadband at high speeds.
AT&T recently announced their own experimental wireless high speed internet system known as Project Airgig. The project uses existing power lines without actually tapping into the power of the lines. Instead, they will mount tiny relay stations on top of the power lines to deliver what they say will be ultra-fast wireless connectivity and can run over license-free spectrum.
Going wireless is cheaper than laying fiber and can overcome last mile issues, but we as consumers don’t really care. We just want to watch Netflix and cat videos without buffering. The sooner AT&T, Google, or any other company makes this happen, the better for everyone.