Google and Dish said to be planning wireless network

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Google's ambitions are pretty broad - and it may be about to move into a whole new area. According to the Wall Street Journal, it's in discussions with satellite TV company Dish about launching its own wireless service.

Dish has been hoovering up spectrum for about four years now, and has made no secret of the fact that it wants to partner with another company to build a wireless data network that could make the most of it.

With the backing of Google, the company would have a very good chance of competing with even the heavyweights such as AT&T and Verizon.

Google, meanwhile, has been working on gigabit fiberoptic technology, which it rolled out to Kansas City earlier this week and hopes to extend to the rest of the country in time.

Much of Dish's spectrum is earmarked for satellite use, meaning the companies would need to persuade the Federal Communications Commission that it should be allowed to use it for another purpose instead. The company's already trying to do this, requesting permission more than a year ago to sue it for a ground-based cellphone network instead.

The FCC seems reluctant, giving itself more time to consider; and it's possible that a deal with Google could make the prospect more attractive by delivering more competition to the market.

Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen refused to confirm that the company was in talks with Google, telling the WSJ that it would like to partner with a company that had wireless infrastructure already in place.

Talks appear to be in the very earliest stages, and any deal would take a long time to come to fruition.