Google will launch several experimental 'ultra high-speed' broadband networks across the United States as part of efforts to encourage authorities to look at 'new and creative ways' to progress the country's National Broadband Plan.
A small number of as-yet unnamed locations will receive fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) connections with speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second.
In a blog post, the company said the trial would "deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today".
"We plan to offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people," the post reads.
Google Australia engineering director, Alan Noble, said in a written statement that the company wanted to "see what developers and users can do with ultra high-speeds, whether it's creating new bandwidth-intensive 'killer apps' and services, or other uses we can't yet imagine".
"Here in Australia, we're very fortunate that the government has taken the initiative to roll out a national fibre network (the NBN) which we believe will be just as vital to innovation, economic growth, and entrepreneurship in the 21st century as national highways and the electric grid were in the 20th century," Noble said. "We want to encourage fellow developers and innovators to build for the web of tomorrow, not of today."
The speeds to be offered in Google's trial would dwarf that of Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) goal of 100 megabits per second.
However, the NBN, already underway in Tasmania, is also a FTTH network which potentially could be scaled up to match the speeds Google is planning and other networks in Australia have already achieved this level.
Last year, for example, TransACT announced the successful delivery of 1Gbps broadband to residential dwellings and businesses.
TransACT used Alcatel-Lucent’s gigabit passive optical network (GPON) termination devices to provide the high-speed broadband.
And Australia's Academic and Research Network (AARNet) claims its AARNet3 backbone network, which stretches across the country, has achieved "high speed access across Australia based on STM-64c (10Gbps) circuits from Nextgen Networks".
Representatives from AARNet have previously told Computerworld that "whereas the average home connection speed is between one and 20Mbps and anticipated to be 100 Mbps by 2017 with the NBN, current AARNet capacity is between one and 20Gbps and anticipated to be 200-250Gbps by 2017".
The latest Google announcement comes a few weeks after the company unveiled a swathe of projects, products and enhancements aimed at upping Internet speed, including Chrome OS and the Go programming language.
In December, Google also announced it was creating a new system to resolve DNS (domain name system) queries that the company claims will speed up Web browsing for end-users, as well as make it more secure.
It attempts to improve on existing DNS resolver technology with faster, more efficient caching and additional security safeguards against spoofing attacks that try to dupe users into visiting malicious Web sites.
Google's video on the announcement: