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Google Fiber isn't just fiber anymore — now it offers wireless service, too

If you had a vegetable stand and started selling meat also, would you still call it a vegetable stand? That’s a consideration for Google Fiber now that the company says it will deploy both fiber optic and wireless internet, according to Ars Technica.

The announcement that Google Fiber is now going to use two technologies in rolling out high-speed internet access is no surprise. It follows the firm’s acquisition of point-to-point wireless internet service provider Webpass, which is now called “Webpass from Google Fiber” on its website.

Related: Out with Infrastructure? Google Fiber may become entirely wireless in the future

According to Google Fiber president Dennis Fish, “Our strategy going forward will be a hybrid approach with wireless playing an integral part. Going forward, Webpass will continue to grow and scale their business with point-to-point wireless technology, including expanding into new cities. And for our part,” Fish continued, “Google Fiber will continue to build out our portfolio of wireless and fiber technologies, to bring super fast Internet to more people, faster.”

Both technologies can provide gigabit speed internet access. Webpass point-to-point is best for providing service in dense, urban centers with connections to large commercial and residential businesses. Providing wireless service to single family homes is cost prohibitive.

Laying cable for fiber optic internet is expensive and fraught with competitive and regulatory issues that slow progress, especially in cities. Whether laying cable underground or sharing existing utility poles with telecommunications companies, the obstacles to deploying fiber internet service in urban areas has stalled Google Fiber service in several cities in California. AT&T has filed lawsuits against the cities of Nashville, Tennessee, and Louisville, Kentucky challenging newly enacted legislation in each that effectively allows Google Fiber contractors to move cables from other companies while installing new ones.

Webpass has service in five metropolitan areas while Google Fiber has ongoing fiber service projects in eight. The addition of the Webpass arrow to Google Fiber’s quiver enables the aspiring gigabit service provider to decide if existing and future markets call for one arrow or another, or in some cases both.