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April 1, 2016

Exploring 1 billion times faster speeds

  • , policy and innovation

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Nearly 6 years ago, we started Google Fiber with the goal of making the web faster and better for everyone. We began with a fiber to the home solution delivering symmetrical gigabit speeds. The impact has been significant - on people, businesses and local economies. The days of loading bars, pixelated video streams and dropped Hangouts are now a thing of the past for many people and businesses in our Fiber cities.

While gigabit speeds are fast, we have come across an application where 1,000 Mbps is actually quite slow. Terribly slow. Research organizations that wish to remain anonymous have been working on an application that would enable the teleportation of a 160 pound person a distance of 60 miles in 1.2 seconds. This application requires a tremendous amount of bandwidth, because a 160-pound person represents a vast amount of data.

How much data? Our partners developed a compression algorithm that allows us to compress matter with only imperceptible levels of quality degradation. As one of the engineers put it:

“If 1 GigaQuad (GQ) = 109 = 1,000,000,000 Quads, where one quad is 2 GiB or 8 x (2 x 109) x (109 x 109) = 1.6 x 1028 bits, what speeds would we need to send an animal, object, or person 60 miles in under 1.2 seconds?”

They found that at 1 Gbps, it would take 1.6 x 1028 / 109 = 1.6 x 1019 seconds. This means that we need speeds that are 10^9 or 1 billion times faster than gigabit speeds.

Here’s how it might look:


To be clear, we are not a teleportation company. Nor do we intend to become one. We simply want to provide the data transfer speeds required to enable teleportation. The team will be tackling a number of unique scientific challenges – not only figuring out how to break down physical objects into discrete packets of data, but determining how to leverage fiber optic technology to transmit that data across distances at incredible speeds. Innovating on fiber optic infrastructure and moving data really fast is something we are deeply passionate about.

Our partners are using the quantum entanglement of the photons that move through our network to make teleportation happen, which is only possible on a pure fiber optic network. Clearly gigabit speeds are too slow. Even on a pure fiber network with gigaquad transfer rates, it would take weeks to transmit uncompressed physical data a few miles. We want these transfers to be complete in under 1.2 seconds.

The potential benefits of teleportation are tremendous. Imagine a world where you could live anywhere and commute instantly. Imagine traffic and urban congestion becoming a thing of the past. That's what teleportation can do: allow us to live gently and efficiently, spending less energy on getting from place to place, and more on the people and projects that matter.

We will continue to not have data caps – the last thing we want is for our subscribers to be trapped in the Internet because they ran out of data.

Want to see how teleportation might look for you? Use our spreadsheet to calculate how far you’ll be able to go, and how long it will take.

This is a massive challenge. And an important one. We are thrilled to help advance teleportation science to create a world in which distance and travel time will not constrain our physical presence.

Posted by Pál Takácsi, Director of Engineering