Google has already rolled out its fiber-optic technology for residents in specific areas of Kansas City – on both sides of the state line. High-speed Internet and TV services have come to many of the city’s “fiberhoods” – a neighborhood which has pre-registered for Google’s network in order to get its service.
The fiber has been installed in twelve areas of Kansas City, Kansas and in two areas of Kansas City, Missouri. The installation is in progress in many more areas of the Kansas City metropolitan.
Next city on the list is Austin, Texas. The city expects its service to be live in mid-2014. While Austin residents await their 1 Gbps Internet speeds, let’s take a look at what the service has done for Kansas City.
Free Internet for some
The average Internet speed in the United States is approximately 8.6 megabits per second (Mbps). Google has offered Kansas City residents Internet with similar speeds for (practically) free.
That’s right – residents only have to pay the installation fee to get broadband speeds of up 5 Mbps. This installation fee is $300, but the package gives you the service for at least seven years.
Affordable high-speed Internet and TV services
Those with access to Google Fiber can get Internet speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) – that’s 1,000 Mbps –plus a full channel TV lineup for only $120 per month. Subscribers also receive a TV box, storage box and network box, as well as 1 TB of storage and no data caps.
Oh, to use as a remote – or book, TV screen, computer, etc. – you get a Nexus 7 tablet. Open your last Internet/TV bill and you'll see that these prices are extremely comparable to competitors. Then, check your Internet speed and prepare to be disappointed.
Improved healthcare services
This speedy Internet is not only for entertainment at home. Google Fiber has been working with the University of Kansas Medical Center for healthcare purposes. Together, they are building healthcare of the future.
Instead of driving to the hospital anytime Kansas City residents need to see their doctor, they will have the chance to video chat instead. This is especially useful for children on a home ventilator or elderly patients, as both may find it difficult to get to the hospital.
In addition to video chat appointments, doctors could send large files, such as high-resolution images, to one another quickly.
Entrepreneurs are moving to Kansas City for the service from Google. Ben Barreth started Homes for Hackers out of his Kansas City home. He allows entrepreneurs to live with him rent-free with access to the 1 Gbps service for three months. This house is located in the Kansas City Startup Village, where more than 20 startups are currently located.
If these entrepreneurs choose to stay in Kansas City and find success, these startups could bring about a thriving economy to the city.
Is it coming to your city?
If you're in Austin, Texas or Provo, Utah, Google Fiber is coming your way. And if you live in Kansas or Missouri, you’ve got a good chance (check out all the cities Google has committed to).
Live elsewhere? You're probably out of luck. Google has raised the bar for Internet and TV companies throughout the U.S., but it doesn't plan on taking the competition to other cities. According to wired.com, fiber networks were built as a “real-world lab for Google to test the potential of ultra-high-speed networks for its ad business.”
Additionally, Google’s website avoided a direct answer to the question, “Will Google Fiber be rolling out to other cities?” Their response was, “We're focusing on Kansas City and Austin right now.”
According to highspeedgeek.com, Verizon offers a similar fiber-optic Internet service with speeds up to 500 Mbps. Verizon FiOS is available in more than 25 cities, so you have a better chance of availability with FiOS rather than Google Fiber.