Google Building Fiber Network in Sprint's Backyard

Sprint and Google are apparently going to be working close by each other in addition to more closely together.

[Google Voice coming to all Sprint phones]

Less than a month after Sprint announced that it would be integrating the Google Voice application into all of its smartphones, Google has announced that it will be building its new experimental fiber network in Kansas City, which just happens to be next door to Sprint's official headquarters in Overland Park, Kan. Google's goal is to provide Kansas City residents and businesses with 1Gbps Internet connections that it projects will be ready for business sometime next year.

But although Kansas City is Sprint's stomping ground, the carrier for now says it has no plans to collaborate with Google on the fiber network. Rather, the carrier will continue to concentrate on its WiMAX-based wireless network that covers all major markets in the United States.

"Today's announcement from Google is further proof of something that Sprint has known for many years: Kansas City is a great place to do business and is firmly on the cutting edge of broadband deployment," the company said in a statement. "Sprint considers Google a partner and recently announced the new Google Nexus S and integrated Google Voice services for all Sprint CDMA phones."

The news about the Kansas City-based fiber network comes just less than two weeks after Sprint revealed that Google Voice will soon be available "on all Sprint CDMA phones" and that it will come preloaded as an application on Google's new Android-based Nexus S 4G smartphone. The carrier said that users who want to run all their calls, text messages and voice mail through Google Voice can simply sign up for the service.

Google Voice was designed in part to make it easier for users to change mobile carriers without sacrificing their phone numbers and also to give users several add-on features that are not offered by carriers. For example, Google Voice can provide simultaneous ringing for both landline and wireless devices using the same phone number and it can serve as a hub for SMS as it lets users send text messages from any of their devices or even right over the Web on their computer.

Google Voice is different from over IP-based voice applications because when you make a call on the service it initially goes through the standard public switch telephone network to the Google cloud. From there, Google sends the call to its final destination. This way, the person receiving your call sees it coming from a Google phone number rather than the number given by wireless carriers. Additionally, Google Voice can use VoIP technology to route calls internationally and offers international rates that are vastly less expensive than those offered by the major telephone companies.

Sprint and Google have also long been partners in the Open Handset Alliance, an industry group of carriers, device manufacturers and semiconductor makers that is dedicated to promoting Google's Android operating system. Some of Sprint's most popular devices, including the Evo 4G smartphone and the Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet, are based on Android.

Read more about lan and wan in Network World's LAN & WAN section.

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