Google throws cash at Brit femtocell firm

Google has invested in a British company that makes femtocell stations – technology for improving mobile phone coverage in homes and companies.

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Google has invested in a British company that makes femtocell stations – technology for improving mobile phone coverage in homes and companies.

The search giant has participated in a £12m round of funding for Ubiquisys, a femtocell vendor based in Swindon. Accel Partners, Atlas Venture and Advent Venture Partners also invested, according to Ubiquisys.

Femtocells, named for an order of size in physics that is smaller than "pico" or "nano," are cellular base stations for individual homes or offices. Mobile operators hope to sell them to customers who will install them and immediately enjoy better coverage. Weak signals indoors, where most high-speed data services are used, have stunted the growth of those lucrative offerings, according to industry analysts.

Google is investing in Ubiquisys to help people use the internet wherever they are, with the best possible experience, spokesman David-John Collins said.

"It's about promoting different ways and platforms for people to access the internet itself," Collins said.

Privately held Ubiquisys was founded in 2004 and earlier this year introduced the ZoneGate femtocell system. Many established carrier equipment vendors, including Nokia Siemens Networks, Motorola and Alcatel-Lucent, also are developing femtocell technology. Commercial deployment of the devices is expected to start in earnest next year.

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