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On March 30, 2011, Google announced that it would bring its new high-speed fiberoptic network to Kansas City, Kan. Residents and businesses would be able to connect at a speed of 1 gigabit per second, 100 times faster than the average American's connection speed. In May 2011, the company announced that the service would be extended to Kansas City, Mo., as well. On July 26, 2012, Google announced that it would launch a television service along with the internet service. The announcement marked a six-week rally during which interested people can pre-register for Google's services. The next big date is Sept. 9, 2012, at which point the pre-registration period is over, and Kansas Citians who've secured the service can begin to schedule installations.

Breaking Down Google Fiber's Plans For Kansas City

GoogFiber.jpg
Eric Baker
/
KCUR

1,100 other cities wanted it, but we got it: Google Fiber.  Since it was announced that ‘we got it’ about a year and a half ago, Kansas City has been eagerly waiting for details.  What is it?  How much is it going to cost, and how will the city get connected?  And perhaps the more important looming question, how will Fiber change our city?

Google announced details for Fiber at a highly anticipated and hyped press conference on Thursday.  They include three household high-speed internet packages. 

One provides gigabit speeds and a television service called Google TV for $120 a month.  Another offers only high speed internet for $70 dollars a month.  And one offers current broadband speeds for a one-time $300 setup fee, or $25 a month for the first year.  

KCUR’s Suzanne Hogan spoke to Alyson Raletz who covers technology and entrepreneurship for The Kansas City Business Journal.

Interview Highlights

“Google has divided the Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo. area into what they call Fiberhoods, these geographic areas based on density and population and kind of topography.  And they have set caps or, I guess, minimum requirements that the people in those Fiberhoods need to meet in order for Google to bring them the service.  And if ‘enough people’ express interest by paying the ten dollars and registering online, Google says it will bring the network to any Fiberhood that reaches those minimums that they’ve set.  And then as a side any of the libraries and the schools in those Fiberhoods that meet those requirements and get the network to come, those public institutions will be connected for free.”

“If you look at the pricing structure, certainly they’re top tier for internet and their internet television product is cheaper than similar packages at other providers.  But there are a lot of families that can’t afford internet now and I’m not sure whether they will think this is an affordable pricing structure or not.”    

“When you talk to area cable providers they say they are not concerned.  AT&T and Time Warner both released statements saying that they feel like their products are very competitive and will stand up fine to the Google product. And specifically Time Warner has said, ‘bring it on.’”

“There are a lot of people that have been waiting a very long time for answers…So we’ll be following a lot to see what questions the community has for Google after this, and if Google will answer them and if this is the product that the community expected.”

This story was produced for KC Currents, which airs Sundays at 5pm with a repeat Mondays at 8pm. To listen on your own schedule, subscribe to the KC Currents podcast.

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