Google in talks with Dish to build wireless network, report says

The talks are preliminary but raise the prospect of Google becoming a wireless service provider

It already sells phones and tablets, provides a wealth of online services and has been laying high-speed fiber to people's homes. Now Google is apparently considering a wireless network service as well.

Google has been in talks with satellite TV provider Dish Network over a possible partnership to build out a wireless service that would rival those from carriers such as AT&T and Sprint, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The talks are at an early stage and could amount to nothing, and Google is just one of many companies Dish is talking to, according to the Journal, which cited anonymous sources. But it raises the prospect that Google might expand its business in a new direction.

Dish has been buying spectrum that could support a wireless service, although it still needs regulatory approval to set one up. In an interview with the Journal Thursday, CEO Charlie Ergen said the partners Dish is talking to include companies that don't currently have a wireless business.

Google declined to comment on the report, the newspaper said.

The move would take Google in another new direction and could support its goal to make high-speed Internet service more widely available in North America.

Earlier this week Google said it had started connecting homes to a fiber broadband service that the company has been building out in Kansas. Google has said the network is part of an "experiment" to bring ultra-high-speed broadband to as many as 500,000 people, though the Journal reported Thursday that Google hopes to take the service nationwide.

Google now also sells smartphones and tablets, since it bought Motorola Mobility earlier this year.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com

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