Google Fiber Will Cover Almost 90 Percent of Kansas City

By Steve Anderson September 10, 2012

Google's calling them "fiberhoods," by which it means the neighborhoods in Kansas City that will qualify for access to Google's game-changing new Google Fiber Internet access service. Based on announcements made only yesterday, there will be a lot of fiberhoods in Kansas City. In fact, around 90 percent of all the neighborhoods in Kansas City will prove to be fiberhoods.

Google Fiber comes in three tiers: a Gigabit Internet service at $70 a month, a combination Gigabit and TV service for $120 a month, and a free Internet service with a 5 Mbps download, 1 Mbps upload, and no bandwidth caps. The service is guaranteed free for seven years, minimum, though there is a onetime $300 construction fee involved, and this fee can be broken down into 12 monthly installments of $25 each. This is the kind of Internet access capability that will soon be commonplace over much of Kansas City, and though it's taken quite a long time to get here, it poses no less potential to be a game-breaker, let alone a game changer, than it did previously.

While Google Fiber is no longer alone in the marketplace offering gigabit access -- Time Warner Cable recently unveiled their own major slate of upgrades in the gigabit market in New York City -- it's still one of the biggest players in the market right now. Some reports have even suggested that the main reason it took so long for Google to reach its goal of getting fiberhoods signed up was due to bottlenecks in the registration system; people were simply signing up in such large numbers that the system backed up.

With good reason, too; consider the current slate of offerings around the Kansas City area. Considering that many companies' offerings are topping out around where Google starts offering service at no charge -- outside of that initial set-up fee, of course, but averaged out over seven years it becomes so small that it approaches truly free anyway (it's around $3.57 a month) -- it's no surprise that Kansas City residents would want this kind of service anyway. Granted, the actual use of a service topping out in the 1 gigabit range is a little dodgy -- it's not like it will make videos stream any faster -- but the combination of capless service and spectacular prices, along with dizzying speeds makes this doubtless a very tempting offer indeed.

Google's program is going to do very interesting things to the market as a whole. The constant refrain of "infrastructure is expensive!" coming from the current providers will doubtless get little pity from consumers looking to upgrade. The growing popularity of streaming video -- which Google has a vested interest in thanks to its YouTube ownership -- is fueling the need for more and more broadband. Google is doubtless going to be happy to provide said bandwidth, as it fuels more YouTube viewers, which in turn is more eyeballs on advertising, and is, eventually, more money for Google. Google is pulling an end run around the ISP market, which was worried about being regarded as "dumb pipes," and now is in danger of being regarded as worse: irrelevant.

Where ever Google Fiber goes next, they will likely find a horde of interested customers. The offer is simply too good to pass up for pretty much anyone who has Internet access. While it's not known just where Google will take its offer next, it's likely that, right now, there are a lot of very worried ISPs who just hope that it's not coming soon to where they're located.

Edited by Rich Steeves

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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