Google targeting Boulder, 23 other cities to test new wireless network

BOULDER — The city of Boulder has so far been passed over for coveted Google Fiber broadband Internet service as the company has set up shop in cities such as Kansas City; Austin, Texas; and Provo, Utah. But it appears the company might be targeting the city for some form of next-generation wireless broadband network.

According to a recent filing with the Federal Communications Commission, Boulder is one of 24 cities where Google Inc. is seeking to test wireless broadband technology in the 3.5 GHz band.

The FCC has been finalizing rules that would make additional spectrum available in the 3.5 GHz band to help improve broadband access for consumers.

Google’s FCC filing indicates that the company would operate experimental transmitters in the various cities, initially deploying in a dozen cities, including Boulder; San Francisco; Palo Alto, Calif.; Omaha, Neb.; and Raleigh, N.C. Boulder is the only city in Colorado among the full 24 mentioned in the filing.

The new wireless technology would be tested on end-user devices by Google employees and contractors, as well as volunteers selected by the company. The company is not seeking to conduct commercial operations under the requested authorization.

Google Fiber’s current service runs fiber-optic cable directly to homes, and is also available in Atlanta, Nashville, Tenn., and Charlotte, N.C.

But a Google spokesperson acknowledged in an emailed statement Tuesday that the company is “working to test the viability of a wireless network that relies on newly available spectrum.”

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