Kansas City, Kansas to become first Google fiber community

Kansas City, Kansas will be the first “Google Fiber” community according to a surprise announcement from the company today. Google announced in February 2010 its intentions to build experimental, ultra high-speed broadband networks that reach a total of at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people. Pending City Board of Commissioners’ approval, the company intends to break ground in Kansas City, Kansas by the end of this year and hopes to offer service beginning in 2012.

By winning this competition, Kansas City, Kansas will get a network with 1 gigabit per second access. According to the company, it was looking for “a location where we could build efficiently, make an impact on the community and develop relationships with local government and community organizations.” Google also has another fiber experiment in Stanford, California but has said that it is a separate project from the fiber community project involving Kansas City.

More than 1,100 cities applied to be the first city chosen and Google has said that it is open to examining similar projects in other cities if the first launch is successful. The company will work with local organizations including the Kauffman Foundation, KCNext and the University of Kansas Medical Center to help develop the network’s future applications.

Google and the city released this video to illustrate their goals for the project.

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Bridget M. Moss

Google mentioned the infrastructure available through existing utilities.

Also, I wonder if KCMO is just geographically too big. KCK/Wyandotte County is large. But KCMO includes several counties. I don’t know if there would be multiple utilities to deal with, but KCK may be a cleaner, simpler lauch.

As a KCMO resident, I’m very excited for our neighbor KCK. They are a bit of an underdog in the region, but I love their downtown, the diversity and history in the area.

We at KCATA have worked with Google when we implemented Google Transit in KC. Their people were really great to work with.