Google has announced that it will connect between 50,000 and half-a-million people in the US on an experimental, gigabit-per-second optical fibre-to-the-home broadband network.
The company is looking for communities to work with, which can be nominated by local government officials or other representatives, it said on Wednesday. It has also pledged to keep the costs competitive and the network open access.
"Our goal is to experiment with new ways to help make internet access better and faster for everyone," product manager James Kelly said in the company's blog post announcing the new network.
Kelly said there were three main aims in the project: to explore next-generation applications, to test out new ways to manage fibre networks, and to operate an open-access network with a choice of service providers.
"We'll share key lessons learned with the world," he said. "We'll manage our network in an open, non-discriminatory and transparent way."
Google has asked for initial applications via a web-hosted request for information (RFI), to be completed by 26 March, saying that responses will be evaluated by a selection team and further contact will be made by Google.
The size of the experimental network will be determined by the number of suitable communities that are accepted, said Google in its RFI documentation, with the launch date to be announced later in the process. However, the company noted: "Our hope is to have a network up and running as soon as possible."