Google Inc said on Wednesday it would build a super high-speed broadband network for up to half a million people in order to experiment with the possibilities of a network running at 100 times current speeds.
Google said it would use fiber optic lines to the home, the same technology used by many telecommunications companies, but declined to give details about whether it would build, buy or rent such services and how much the venture would cost the No. 1 search engine company.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski immediately hailed the move, saying big broadband creates big opportunities.
Google's significant trial will provide an American testbed for the next generation of innovative, high-speed Internet apps, devices and services, Genachowski said in a statement.
Google said it would offer the service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and up to 500,000 people in a small number of locations in the United States.
Google did not disclose locations, actual pricing or the time frame of when the high-speed broadband network is expected.
We'll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections, Google product managers Minnie Ingersoll and James Kelly wrote in a blog post.
Google called the project an experiment and said it hoped to see what developers and users can do with super-fast speeds.
The company said the network would be open access, and users would have a choice of multiple service providers.
Mountain View, California-based Google's shares fell less than 1 percent to $534.41 in midday trading on the Nasdaq.
(Reporting by Ian Sherr, Gabriel Madway and John Poirier; Editing by Peter Henderson, Lisa Von Ahn and Bernard Orr)