Google's Kansas City ultra-fast fiber network set to debut

Residents of the Kansas City metropolitan area are close to having access to super-fast Internet as Google unveiled its fiber-to-the-home service on Thursday. For as little as $70 per month, Google will provide 1 Gigabit Internet service to customers in both Kansas City, Mo. and Kansas City, Kan.

The service will also include a television component for an additional $50 per month. Deployment depends on the number of consumers that pre-register in a specific area: Google will only complete runs of fiber-optic cable to where the demand is highest.


Pre-registration is now available from the Google Fiber website. Registrations are due September 9, after which Google will make an announcement informing which neighborhoods will qualify for the initial rollout.

The Mountain View, Calif. company has spent an undisclosed amount of money running cables through the two-state metropolitan region. Kansas City "won" the service last year, beating out several other cities after Google announced its intent to build a project fiber optic network. Hundreds of other cities across the U.S. attempted to lure the search giant to build its experimental fiber optic network there.

Google hopes that Fiber will show what's possible with the Internet, and spur innovation. There could be a side benefit to this high-speed fiber optic network too: tech companies may now see the area as an attractive (and low-cost) alternative to Silicon Valley and the emerging tech scene in New York City.

"No more buffering. No more loading. No more waiting. Gigabit speeds will get rid of these pesky, archaic problems and open up new opportunities for the web", Google vice president of access services Milo Medin wrote in a blog post. "Imagine: instantaneous sharing; truly global education; medical appointments with 3D imaging; even new industries that we haven’t even dreamed of, powered by a gig".

In addition to the Gigabit service, Google is also offering a "free" option which will run fiber to the home, but cap speeds at 5Mbps download and 1Mbps upload. Customers will be responsible for a $300 construction fee, and service will be guaranteed at no cost for at least seven years.

With all this speed, will there really be a noticeable difference? That's unlikely. Webpages and videos will instantaneously load, but unless the user's watching the progress bar they're not going to notice a difference. Where they may is the speed of online backups, or sharing files -- where essentially the speed it uploads is going to be limited by how fast your computer can send it.

"Access speeds have simply not kept pace with the phenomenal increases in computing power and storage capacity that’s spurred innovation over the last decade, and that’s a challenge we’re excited to work on", Medin continued.

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