Imagine a world in which high-speed internet does not require cable or fiber optics, but rather was beamed directly into your home. Well, that reality might not be too far in the future. Google parent company Alphabet is openly discussing the possibility of essentially using free-space optics to provide high-speed internet to people throughout the world.
Advance of Wireless
Free space optical communication and point to point wireless technology have been advancing rather steadily in recent years. As computer chips become more effective and wireless signals more accurate, the technological framework necessary to make such an advancement work seems to be imminent. Alphabet, in fact, has already begun testing the technology with the intention of making Kansas City, MO its demonstration market as early as next year, along with a number of other wireless innovations.
What should be clear is that assuming the technology could be made to function reliably and dependably, these advances would represent a more cost-effective means of providing high-speed internet than what is currently offered with fiber optics. It would also require less infrastructural labor, and it would presumably represent a marked increase in convenience and usability for customers, with each throughout a given network linked wirelessly with nothing more needed equipment-wise then a special receiver to field the signals.
Should this new innovation really come to life it would represent an advancement on a par with full duplex communication…at least in terms of its expanding the ways in which we expect it to be feasible to transmit information. And it comes at a time where concepts like the “Internet of Things,” cloud technology, 3-D Printing (which Alphabet also has plans for, which we expect to be unveiled soon) and an increasing capacity of technology to centralize information and coordinate activity in the cyber-sphere portends changes to the economy and technological culture that could really revolutionize life as we know it in the generation to come.
In a time like this, where technological advancements seem to come so rapidly and old norms of technology and society seem to dissipate so quickly, it is hard to know exactly what to expect in terms of broader changes. This is true even if a prospective new technology like wireless high-speed internet does mature into broad usage. But as Alphabet CEO aptly and perhaps prophetically says, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” It looks like Alphabet is intent on doing just that.