Google Looks to Speed Up Web

BY Jason M. Breslow  February 10, 2010 at 3:19 PM EST

Google wants to make the Web faster — much faster. In a post on its corporate blog Wednesday, the world’s largest search engine announced it will build ultra high-speed broadband networks that will deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than the broadband most Americans use.

Google said it would take its first steps into the broadband service business with trials of rapid fiber-optic networks in a small number of locations in the United States. The company did not say when the trial networks would be up and running, but once they are, they would make the Internet available to as many as 500,00 people at speeds of 1 gigabit per second.

“Our goal is to experiment with new ways to help make Internet access better and faster for everyone,” two Google product managers, Minnie Ingersoll and James Kelly, wrote in the blog post.

The two managers said faster access will allow for a new range of possibilities on the Web, including the streaming of three-dimensional medical imaging and high-definition feature films that can be downloaded in less than five minutes.

Google has long been a proponent of better Internet access in the United States. In a Washington Post op-ed Tuesday, the company’s chief executive officer, Eric Schmidt, described the matter as one of national competitiveness:

“High-speed Internet access must be much more widely available. Broadband is a major driver of new jobs and businesses, yet we rank only 15th in the world for access. More government support for broadband remains critical.”

The company said it would solicit proposals from communities interested in the service over the next six weeks, and announce trial locations later this year.