Look Out Time Warner: Google Fiber is Coming to Kansas City

Google announced today in their blog that Kansas City, Kansas was selected to be the first location where they will be building their experimental fiber network.

If you haven’t heard about this project the basic idea is that Google will offer 1Gbps fiber connections at a competitive price for up to 500,000 people in a test market.

Several months went by without any news on the project and many people were speculating that Google might have called off the project all together.  But back in December Google announced that Milo Medin, a well known engineer, had joined the Google Fiber team to help promote the new network.  Then today, just a few months after the announcement, a test site has been selected.

While I’m very glad to see this project coming to the KC metro area I find myself asking why Kansas City, Kansas was selected out of all the suburbs in the area.  I’m sure anyone who doesn’t live in KCK is probably asking the same question as to why their city wasn’t selected.  As someone who lives on the Missouri side of Kansas City I can only hope that the project will be a success and propagate to other parts of the city.

Either way the fact that Google Fiber is now a reality will hopefully create some much needed competition in the area and provide a wake up call to other ISP’s.  If Google does come through and provides competitive prices people are going to cancel their Time Warner and AT&T internet accounts before you can say Google Fiber.

In the KC metro area there are currently three dominate ISP’s

  • Time Warner (Cable)
  • AT&T (DSL)
  • SureWest (Cable and Some Fiber)

Currently these ISP’s don’t have a chance at even competing with the speeds Google plans to offer.  Time Warner’s “PowerBoost” plan only allows bursts of up to 15Mbps, and they still haven’t upgraded to Docsis 3.0 here yet.  AT&T’s DSL has never been that fast compared to cable.  On the other hand SureWest is the only provider in the area that actually has a small deployment of fiber to the home with speeds up to 50Mbps.

According to the announcement Google plans to start offering service in 2012 which doesn’t leave much time to build a whole fiber network from the ground up.  It will be very interesting to see how this plays out and whether or not we see any reactions from the local ISP’s in the area.

Sam Kear

Sam graduated from the University of Missouri - Kansas City with a bachelors degree in Information Technology. Currently he works as a network analyst for an algorithmic trading firm. Sam enjoys the challenge of troubleshooting complex problems and is constantly experimenting with new technologies.

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