Google to become broadband provider. And that means broad.

Saw this in today’s Washington Post. Sign me up.

Google, the world’s biggest online search engine, wants to turbocharge your Internet connection.

The company said Wednesday it is getting into the broadband service business with trials for fiber networks that will deliver Internet access speeds that are 100 times faster than what most Americans are getting today.

The company said in a blog that it will build fiber-to-the-home connections to a small number of locations across the country that will deliver Internet access speeds of 1 gigabit per second. The company didn’t say what areas would be part of its experiment, but said prices would be competitive and that its network would reach at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people. A source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the company doesn’t currently have plans to expand beyond the initial tests but will evaluate as the tests progress.

“Our goal is to experiment with new ways to help make Internet access better and faster for everyone,” wrote product managers Minni Ingersoll and James Kelly in the blog titled, “Think big with a gig: our experimental fiber network.”

Some of the fastest connections through cable, DSL and fiber access cap off around 20 to 50 megabits a second. Google chief executive Eric Schmidt told The Washington Post during a visit late last year that ultra-high-speed Internet connections were imperative for a next generation of applications to take off for the Web. Currently, he said, most network services fall short.

At such speeds, a rural health center could receive streaming three-dimensional medial imaging over the Web and discuss health issues with a physician in a Los Angeles, for example. Downloading high-definition, full-length feature films would take about five minutes, Google said.

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