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Google Honcho: We May Build A Nationwide Network

Google co-founder Larry Page says that the company is looking at ways it can "expand" Internet access for its users, and won't rule out bidding to buy wireless bandwidth so the search giant can create a nationwide Wi-Fi network.
Page's comments came during yesterday's call about Google's first-quarter earnings.

Big chunks of unused wireless spectrum are going out to bid in a U.S. government auction, and I'm not surprised Page won't rule out bidding on it. I've said before that Google could join with Amazon and eBay to buy bandwidth, and then build a nationwide Wi-Fi network, bypassing the telcos who want to charge Google and other sites extortion-type fees.

Google could also buy the bandwidth and join with EarthLink to launch a nationwide, for-pay Wi-Fi network. Google and EarthLink have won the bid to provide Wi-Fi for San Francisco. EarthLink has been hinting it will do the same thing for another major city -- but this time, the network will be for-pay, not free.

I think that Page's latest statement makes it clear Google will be expanding into nationwide Wi-Fi -- at this point, the question is whether the company will go it alone, partner with other Web sites, or do it with EarthLink.