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Google to test innovative 3.5GHz wireless in Kansas City

Matt Hamblen | April 20, 2016
Test to last up to 18 months, use shared spectrum FCC created last year.

Even though the 3.5GHz test is separate from Project Fi, some analysts said the two could eventually be combined.

Google won approval from the FCC last year to do an experimental 3.5GHz wireless test. The company has also claimed its testing shows that both LTE and Wi-Fi network can work alongside radar systems used by the U.S. Navy in the 3.5GHz band. Google had performed the tests to prove the spectrum could be shared by various users; the FCC has required that technology be used to establish a priority for the defense networks.

Google defended the use of shared spectrum in a blog last year.

In its presentation to Kansas City officials, Google said it chose the city for the test because the area "understands technology and innovation" and has been an "excellent" partner.

Usher said a side benefit of commercialized 3.5GHz could be cheaper wireless service to lower-income residents who rely heavily on smartphone access to the Internet. "Shared spectrum in the 3.5GHz space has the potential to reduce costs and assist in our efforts to erase the digital divide in KC," Usher said.

"Wireless connectivity is a critical element of smart city success due to the massive amount of data generated and utilized in the networks," he said.

Last year, Sprint, which is located in Overland Park, Kans., announced it is financing a $9 million free Wi-Fi zone along a new 2.2-mile streetcar route in downtown that opens May 6.

Smart city initiatives like those in Kansas City are being launched in many cities nationally. In a separate announcement Monday, AT&T and Miami-Dade County announced a partnership to bring technology innovations for smart lighting, public transportation and to reduce traffic and preserve natural resources.

AT&T previously announced a smart city partnership with Atlanta, among other communities.

Last week, Verizon said it would provide fiber optic connections to homes and businesses in Boston and conduct a traffic safety technology pilot on a busy city thoroughfare there.


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