May 19, 2011

Kansas City, MO To Get Google Ultra-fast Broadband

City officials in Kansas City, Missouri declared their city the envy of the entire world after Internet search giant Google said it was expanding its ultra-fast broadband service, originally slated for its trial run in Kansas City, Kansas, to include the Missouri city as well.

Google announced in March that it had chosen Kansas City, KS as the inaugural site for its "Fiber for Communities" project. Google claims the project will deliver Internet access 100 times faster than current broadband connections offered by telephone and cable companies.

Google said on Tuesday that it had reached an agreement with Kansas City, MO officials to run the fiber optics network across the Missouri River and into their city. The first customers are slated to start receiving the connections sometime in the middle of 2012.

"The eyes of the entire world are on this city," Cindy Circo, a Kansas City, MO councilwoman who led the drive to get Google to expand to their city, told Associated Press (AP). "Tomorrow, they will be talking about us around the world."

"We were once the capital of the West, songs were written about us and how we were up-to-date. St. Louis even built an arch to let people know how close they were to Kansas City," Circo said.

Among the biggest beneficiaries of the ultra-high-speed Internet service would be high-tech business, hospitals, schools and utility companies. The fiber optic network is expected to provide rapid transmission of data and high-definition images far beyond what is available now.

Analyst Craig Settles said Google's announcement is a big deal for Kansas City. He visited Chattanooga, Tennessee last week, where a city-owned utility there built its own 1 gigabit system that is expected to run similarly to Google's project.

"Chattanooga has raised the bar on firstness," said Settles. "They can say 'we've got the infrastructure. We're on the leading edge.' That has value. Cities and counties have to market themselves if they want to attract people and businesses to come to the area. If you go to Chattanooga, the fact they have a network 10 times faster than the goal of the national broad plan, it gives their community a lot of pride. That's not to be devalued. It's an asset to the community."

Tuesday's announcement in Kansas City, provided plenty of excitement.

"This morning we were the envy of our peers," said Mayor Sly James. "Now they've realized we are peerless. The world is looking to see what we will do with our faster Internet connectivity. I guarantee Kansas City will not disappoint. In fact, neither Kansas City will disappoint."

Google's vice president of access services, Milo Medin, said there is yet a price set for what it will cost to run the faster service for individuals. He also said the announcement doesn't necessarily translate to an increase in Google jobs.

"One of Google's goals is to make the web faster," Medin told AP. "We believe the innovation on the web is only in its beginning phases."


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