It was a great day in Kansas City, when Google revealed its new 1-gigabit-per-second fiber broadband service on July 26th. The service, simply called Google Fiber, offers Internet access speeds 100 times faster than any regularly-available broadband Internet access service currently on the market. The service promises “a different kind of Internet,” with instant downloads from the web, crystal-clear HD TV, and endless possibilities for web users and developers alike.
Residents in the Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri areas – where the service will be first available – rushed to pre-register and make their interest known to Google, the Mountain View, California tech giant. Google was (and still is) the talk of the town. The pre-registration rally – as devised by Google – began shortly after the Google Fiber announcement and runs until September 9th. The purpose of the pre-registration rally is to help Google determine the areas of greatest Google Fiber interest around Kansas City. Those fiberhoods with high registration values will be among the first to receive the Fiber service from Google.
For most Kansas City residents who have been accessing the Internet at an average of 4.5 megabits-per-second (according to the latest Akamai State of the Internet report), Google Fiber had been a long-time coming.
Here in Kansas City, where Rank Fuse Interactive was founded, area residents have been collectively holding their breath since the announcement that the city would be host to the first Google Fiber installation. The selection of Kansas City over 1,100 other communities was made last March – some two years after Google first announced its plan to promote innovation in broadband technology by building new fiber networks across America. At the time of the announcement, Kansas City Mayor Joe Reardon joined a number of area business owners and community leaders in praising the opportunity and pondering the possibilities. “We don’t know where it may lead,” said Mayor Reardon. “But we know potential is there for it to go to great places.”
Patrick Pichette, Google CFO, appeared for the announcement at Google Fiber’s Kansas City office space at State Line and Westport Road. Mr. Pichette remarked on how their gigabit Fiber service would broaden and improve all aspects of education, entertainment, and e-commerce services that depend on speedy, uninterrupted access to the Internet. Pichette also asserted that the gigabit service would be a major attraction for developers of new ultra-high-speed, web-based services.
During the announcement, Google Product Manager Larry Yang also demonstrated a new interactive television service called Google Fiber TV that is poised to bring a wealth of TV channels, shows, and other content to every connected TV in your home.
By the time the announcement had ended, Google had rolled out three packages to qualifying Kansas City homes – each bringing a greater level of service and Internet accessibility than most area homes had ever seen.
Google Fiber Plans in Kansas City:
- Internet and TV: Internet access up to 1 gigabit per second (upload and download), as well as Google Fiber TV (promising hundreds of HD channels, as well as tens of thousands of TV shows and movies on-demand), a Nexus 7 tablet, and 1 terabyte of cloud storage on Google Drive. Cost is $120 per month with a two-year contract.
- Internet and Storage: Internet access up to 1 gigabit per second (upload and download) and 1 terabyte of cloud storage on Google Drive. Cost is $70 per month on a one-year contract.
- Basic Internet: Those customers not yet ready to make the leap to ultra-high-speed can sign up for a basic 5-megabits-per-second Internet access service. Cost is $0 per month but requires a $300 construction fee. An interesting note: Google has promised to keep this basic Internet access connection free to subscribers for no less than seven years time.
Although some Internet service providers may feel weakened by Google’s incredible service offering, most industry leaders who have commented on the new Google Fiber service accept the notion that Google is simply attempting to push the industry toward offering faster Internet service at more reasonable costs. Most would agree that the leap in technology and speed to Internet access was a long-time coming. It’s hard to believe that in the year 2000, there were millions of dial-up Internet access customers in the United States – each receiving access to the World Wide Web only via a 28.8 or 56 kilobits per second modem.