There's a chance that Google may miss the June launch date for a wireless network its building in Mountain View, Calif., or make the deadline, but with a network that doesn't have the promised coverage.
Google's begun testing the network and, in so doing, has discovered it might need to add more Wi-Fi transmitters than originally thought to deliver the coverage and service quality it promised, according to Ellis Burns, the city's economic development manager.
"It's not clear now whether they will have to, but they could be pushing" the launch to July or beyond, Burns said of recent talks Google's had with the city.
A Google spokeswoman said the company still intends to light the network in June, but there's a "potential possibility" more access points will be needed. Google expects to learn a lot more once the network's activated, she adds.
The reason why Google decided to build the network was both as an homage to its hometown, and, more importantly, as an exercise in what it takes to get a Wi-Fi network up and running. So maybe it's learning one of those lessons now that it can apply going forward.
The possible delay could also prove to be a strike against Google continuing to build Wi-Fi networks on its own. Rather, it may use the experience to decide it will go another route: using partnerships with established providers.
It's already got one of these Wi-Fi networks in the works. Google and Net provider EarthLink have been tapped to build a citywide Wi-Fi network in San Francisco. According to sources, the two intend to build another network somewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area.