of you who thought there’s nothing in the world that could make you envious of Kansas City (aside from good barbecue),
I’ve got news for you.
Tech geeks everywhere are green with envy after Google announced that their Google Fiber internet connection and
cable TV service will launch in the city on both the Missouri and Kansas sides of town this fall.
The tech company that turned an internet
search engine into a verb, a valuable stock and part of the vernacular has made its foray into the market for bundled internet
and television services, promising access speeds more than 100 times faster than those of traditional US cable and telecommunications
Imagine downloading the entire Godfather trilogy in high definition in about a minute. Or putting every single Beatles
song ever made onto your iPod in even less time. That’s the speed we’re talking about here, folks. And now you
see why this tech reporter is teeming with envy.
The project to turn the Midwestern city of about 600,000 into a hub of hyper-fast
internet — called Google Fiber — promises Gigabit speeds at the cost of regular broadband.
Google hopes to later roll out the service
to other cities — giving more people in more places access to high-speed internet.
“Access is the next frontier that
needs to be opened,” said Google chief financial officer Patrick Pichette. “We’re going to do it profitably.
That is our plan.”
“We are at a crossroad,” he added, noting that internet speeds had levelled out for broadband since around
2000. “We at Google we believe there is no need to wait.”
The service, which will be available starting this September,
will let users download unlimited internet data at the speed of 1000 megabits (Mbps) per second for $70.
In addition to the blazing broader than
broadband internet, Google’s also offering a new TV service called Google Fiber Television. The service is a lot like
Google TV, but with more features such as the ability to record eight TV shows at a time and store up to 500 hours of high
definition programming. Users will also be able to use an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet as a voice-activated remote
control and at some point, they’ll be able to stream video on those devices as well.
The TV package will have most broadcast
networks along with hundreds of “Fiber channels”. Some major TV networks like Fox News, CNN and the Disney Channel
are not yet available. Google executives said the company is still in negotiations to add more content before the service
goes live in September.
After just two days, already 20 percent of Kansas City, Missouri (the more populated Kansas City) had signed up.
Mayor Sly James is clearly pleased his city will be the first to receive such a service.
“We now have an opportunity to
take a giant step and if we don’t it’s all on us,” Mr James said. “It’s going to be a great
educational tool that’s going to create innovators and entrepreneurs, and that’s exactly what we want.”
launch of the citywide network could highlight the broader issue of slow internet as speed become crucial for innovation in
a digital economy. The company hopes it will spur phone and cable companies into upgrading their own networks.
have simply not kept pace with the phenomenal increases in computing power and storage capacity that’s spurred innovation
over the last decade,” Milo Medin, Google’s vice president of access services, wrote in a blog post.
ultra high-speed connections and television offerings are aimed at surpassing those of current providers. Until now, Time
Warner Cable has dominated the Kansas City market, charging $99.95 for its fastest internet-only service. Google Fiber would
be 20 times faster.
For $120 a month, users can get Google Fiber’s cable TV service, one gigabit per second internet speeds and
one terabyte of cloud storage. The company is also offering an internet-only package priced at $70 a month, also with speeds
of be one gigabits per second. Both require a $300 installation fee, but it looks like a bargain when you consider that many
of us here in Bermuda pay more than four times as much per month for internet that’s 100 times slower.
Now if only we
could talk Google into making Bermuda its first international Google Fiber market …
Kansas City, Kansas,
will be the first city to receive Google’s experimental high-speed Internet network. The announcement Wednesday ends
a year-long process that sparked a heated
nationwide competition between
more than 1,000 U.S. communities.
The search giant first announced its intention to build an experimental fiber network with speeds 100 times faster than the typical U.S. Internet connection — an astounding 1 GB per second. Google’s
goal wasn’t to become an Internet service provider (ISP) that would compete with the likes of Comcast but rather was
to help push broadband and Internet delivery forward.
After Google’s initial announcement, dozens of cities started their own campaigns
to persuade Google to bring its high-speed network to their cities. Most famously, Topeka, Kansas, briefly changed its name to Google, Kansas, but other cities went to great lengths to get Google’s
a full year later, the technology titan has chosen its winner: Kansas City, which has already signed a development agreement
with Google to start the project.
So why did Google choose Kansas City, a city with a population of 145,000? Here is the company’s explanation:
“In selecting a city, our goal was to find a location where
we could build efficiently, make an impact on the community and develop relationships with local government and community
organizations. We’ve found this in Kansas City. We’ll be working closely with local organizations including the
Kauffman Foundation, KCNext and the University of Kansas Medical Center to help develop the gigabit applications of the future.”
If your city wasn’t
chosen, don’t fret; Google says it is “looking closely at ways to bring ultra high-speed Internet to other cities
across the country.” If Kansas City turns out to be a success, then don’t be surprised if Google Fiber starts
stretching its way from coast to coast.
That’s good news for Topeka, Kansas City’s neighbor sixty
miles to the west....