Google Fiber to Launch in Kansas City

By Kahler Billinghurst | August 1, 2012

google, google fiber, internet connection, tech news

 

While Kansas City is no Silicon Valley, the midwestern city is the site of a historic new technological advancement with the launch of Google Fiber. Google is promoting this new launch of TV and Internet network as an optional bundle service that features Internet connectivity streaming at 1,000 mb/sec, which is an unprecedented speed here in the United States, and a TV service that will boast at least 150 channels. The Google Nexus tablet  will replace a traditional remote. Google Fiber is seen as a radical new effort that could challenge and eventually change the cable and internet provider market. 

Google’s plans include offering the TV service and ultra high speed Internet for $120 a month with a waived construction fee of $300 if a two-year contract is signed. Other pricing options include just the Internet service for $70 a month, with the $300 construction fee again being waived if the two-year contract is signed. Google also offers both these plans free of contract, but will require a $300 construction fee. Google Fiber will have a limited release, with distribution priority based on pre-registration numbers for each neighborhoods. Google is coining the phrase “fiberhoods” for the neighborhoods that will receive this service, and pre registration costs $10. The greatest percentage of neighborhood communities to sign up will receive the service first, which Google hopes will promote a “grass roots” feel. 

The Google TV service has abundant potential. The possible connectivity given between the tv and internet, or mobile devices such as tablets, the greater capacity to record programs including eight shows at once and the enhanced search guide making the program search the most sophisticated ever in TV are all enticing features. Also, Google says all channels will be broadcast in HD. The immediate problem the company is going to have to deal with is its limited channel offerings. Google still has not reached an agreement with major cable companies Time Warner, Disney, AMC and News Corp. A TV service that doesn't offer TNT, CNN, ESPN, Disney Channel, AMC or Fox News will be a hard sell, as these are MAJOR draws in the TV market. 

This is considered a beta test, which is a prospective launch in a limited area to see how a product or service works in the real world. Google started a competition to see which city would be the site for the Google Fiber start up in February 2010. Overall, 1,100 towns and cities applied, and on March 30, 2011, Google announced Kansas City, KS as the winner. Later, Google would add Kansas City, MO to the launch area.

Google Fiber is an exciting prospect. The idea of internet being up to 100 times faster than it is now is fantastic. The TV service, once it gets all channels aboard, will also be a revolutionary concept of combining other devices to the TV and making overall entertainment consumption more advanced and easier at the same time. Also, from a consumer standpoint, the success of Google Fiber could force other cable and internet providers to restructure their business models, as they have limited competition and incentive to provide cheaper service with better customer service. A new, legitimate competitor would force these companies to up their game and cater more to the consumer in order to keep them happy. But these changes will not be immediate, and like I said earlier, this is a beta test. Depending on its success, the general public will not have access to Google Fiber until further in the future.