Google To Launch Gigabit Internet In Kansas City

written by Harry - Leave a reply

4/7/2011 – After months of desperate window-dressing, battering of eye-lids and expensive corporate lunches, Google finally named Kansas City as the first place it will roll out it’s new ultra-fast broadband network.

Kansas-Gigabit-Internet-GoogleThe search engine giant announced that Kansas would be the inaugural site for their “Fiber for Communities” project. The program is part of a plan to deliver internet speeds 100 times faster than those currently delivered by phone and cable companies in the US.

Google is to build systems that will allow consumers to download a high-definition, full-length feature film in less than five minutes, facilitate the rapid transfer of medical data between hospitals and help students collaborate with friends around the world while watching live 3-D video of a university lecture.

1 Gigabit Internet Speeds

The service is being designed to provide Internet download speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second (1Gbps). In Kansas alone it will serve as many as 500,000 people and is looking to be rolled out in early 2012 while the company looks at other deployment sites across the states.

More than 1,100 cities made competitive bids to become the first site for the fiber-optic network.
Google’s vice president for access services, Milo Medin, said Kansas City was selected due to its solid existing network infrastructure and the potential to regenerate one of the poorest cities in the state.

Medin quoted, “We believe gigabit broadband can be leveraged for economic development and educational gain, both of which are vital in the global economy that we live in today. We want to be able to build strong relationships and partnerships with local government and communities so that we can work together to use technology in a new way to make a city a better place to live in, a better place to work in, a better place to learn in.”

“Pick me, pick me”

The deadline for city bids for the network passed in March 2010 with many areas pulling outrageous stunts to get the company’s attention and show their interest.

Topeka informally renamed itself “Google, Kansas.”, organized a flash mob at a community meeting and had fans spell out “Google” on the ice during a RoadRunners hockey game.

Hundreds of Facebook groups were also set up by residents imploring Google to choose their cities.

Mayor and CEO of Kansas City and Wyandotte County, Joe Reardon, said the “1 gigabit fiber backbone straight through to businesses and homes” would mean business and educational opportunities for the area, and would help the community grow in unique ways.

“The unbelievable thing about this from a development perspective is that it knows no particular place or boundary. It could be deployed to anywhere the need and interest is.”

Government Initiative

The news of Google’s project comes amid growing concern about broadband connections among public interest groups and policy makers in Washington. The fear is that internet services in the U.S. are far slower and more expensive than those available in many European and Asian countries – indeed millions of Americans still have no broadband access at all.

In 2010, President Barack Obama pledged to expand high-speed wireless Internet access to 98 percent of Americans. The FCC and the Commerce Department are current looking at solutions to make that possible. There is even talk of tapping into the federal program that subsidizes phone services in rural and poor communities to pay for the initiative.

Google’s Motivations

In the midst of this circus, Google is claiming that it is not interested in entering or even obtaining a sizable chunk of the broadband market. It is dipping into its own capital to build this ‘first of it’s kind’ ultra-fast Internet network in the hope that it encourages existing telecommunications and cable providers to upgrade their services in communities across the country.

Google hopes service providers learn lessons from their experimental network that will lead to the rollout of more high-speed systems and bring faster connections to more Americans at a lower cost. They also claim that the network will become a test-bed for developments in online video and other future applications requiring significant bandwidth.

However, unlike many of Google’s current Web-based applications like Gmail, calendars and document creation, the Kansas City internet project likely won’t be provided free of charge. On a question-and-answer page at its website, Google did not give specifics on its pricing plan, but said the company plans to offer the service “at a competitive price to what people are paying for Internet access today.”

The news of Google’s network is obviously a big step for internet connectivity in America. For too long internet providers have been getting away with charging expensive subscription rates for substandard services. A general lack of investment in technology advances has been criticised by many quarters as the consumer misses out on service speeds that DO EXIST, and CAN BE DELIVERED TODAY!

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