On Wednesday Google Inc unveiled plans to build a super high-speed broadband network for up to half a million people around the United States in order to experiment with the possibilities of a network running at 100 times current speeds.
The company has long argued that it can sell more Web ads -- the way it makes money -- by encouraging Internet use. It imagines three-dimensional conferencing and classes, faster movie downloads and new businesses taking advantage of the speeds that are only theoretical for most people now.
Google said it would use fiber optic lines to the home, the same technology used by many telecommunications companies.
The move could put Google in direct competition with the likes of AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc, although one analyst did not see the move as a new stand-alone business for the search company.
A Verizon spokesman described the Google move as a "new paragraph" in the "exciting story" of Internet development.
Google, in a blog describing the network, imagined a New York doctor discussing and looking at three-dimensional medical images with a patient far away, students joining a class from various locations in 3-D, or simply downloading a high-definition movie very fast.
It asked cities and states interested in joining the experiment to apply to Google by March 26 and said it eventually would build the network in a number of U.S. locations. here th-gig-our-experimental.html
Google said it would offer the service at a "competitive price" to at least 50,000 and up to 500,000 people in a small number of locations in the United States.
Google did not say what prices would be for consumers or when the high-speed broadband network would debut.
Reuters has contributed to the report.