Google Files to Transmit on Home-Turf Airwaves

WASHINGTON and MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF. – Google is seeking an experimental license to operate radio frequency gear in the airwaves of its Bay Area headquarters. The search giant filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission for a two-year license to run experimental equipment on 2 GHz frequencies in Mountain View at a 3.2 mile radius.

Google’s game plan isn’t specified in the filing, but bloggers for both The Atlanticand The Wall Street Journalsurmise that the company is creating its own wireless network. However, the Mountain View filing is for a “new or modified radio station,” where previous filings specified experimental Wi-Fi operations.

On the Mountain View application, transmitting equipment model numbers are listed as “confidential.” A directional antenna no more than six meters (app. 18 feet) in height (not HAAT) is to be used. Peak output powers are not listed. The authorization will not be used for “providing communications essential to a research project,” it states.

Another of Google’s experimental licenses covers 2 GHz frequencies in Cambridge, Mass., New York, Mountain View and Los Angeles, where the company is testing next-generation Wi-Fi devices. The company was originally granted Special Temporary Authority to test the devices on Jan. 26, 2012, and has since received an extension for operations through Jan. 31, 2013.

Another STA for Google Fiber on 2 and 5 GHz frequencies in Palo Alto, Calif., is for “testing Bluetooth and Wi-Fi protocols and performance within an integrated access point as part of a fiber residential gateway,” the filing states. That STA runs through Feb. 6, 2013.

A previous STA involved experiments for advanced-driving assistance systems, using “test vehicles equipped with automatic cruise control radars in a manner that extends the sensing range of the radars when a vehicle is not in motion.” It was granted for 76-77 GHz in the San Francisco Bay area.

~ Deborah D. McAdams