KC Currents
2:11 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Google’s Fiberhood Rally Results Are In, Now What?

The deadline to pre-register for Google Fiber, what Google is calling their new super-fast internet service, came to a close September 9th.

The company had divided the Kansas City area into different sections called fiberhoods. If a fiberhood met the minimum requirement set by Google then they would be connected, and public institutions like schools and libraries in that same area would also be connected. 

The internet company took a couple days to collect the information from their pre-registration time and then announced on their blog which neighborhoods reached goal, and a construction timeline.

KCUR’s Maria Carter, who’s been covering Google Fiber here at the station, and Suzanne Hogan sat down to talk about the results and next steps for Google Fiber in Kansas City.

SUZANNE: Let’s start with Thursday’s announcement, what results did Google announce?

MARIA: Well they confirmed that 180 out of the 202, what they’re calling fiberhoods, which are really just how they’ve divvied up the neighborhoods, did indeed make their goals and will be getting internet fiber.  And then they also rolled out kind of the basics of their timeline for when each fiberhood would be getting the fiber actually installed.

SUZANNE:  Do you know what their timeline is right now?

MARIA: The first neighborhood that will get it is Hanover Heights, which is right by the Google Fiber space.  It’s in Kansas City, KS right by Westport and State Line Rd. And they’ll be getting it in October, and then from there it will kind of roll out, and everyone should have it according to Google’s timeline by Fall of next year, Fall 2013.  It’s a pretty general timeline besides October, a lot of the dates are Spring, Summer, Fall, those types of dates.  Google has been in the blog post, very up front that harsh weather, a tough winter, could really delay things.  I think with all construction projects, you know, if it says Fall, you might not count on Fall.

SUZANNE: Who didn’t make the minimum requirement?

MARIA: Well most of the neighborhoods in Kansas City, Kansas made it.  There were a few very very very small fiberhoods that didn’t.  And then there were about 15 over in Kansas City, MO that didn’t make it.  And most of those were East of Troost in poorer parts of the city.

SUZANE: Do you know of any possible schools or institutions that will left out for now as a result in those areas?

MARIA:  Well all the schools in Kansas City, KS and all the libraries that were in eligible places made it.  There was one library out by Wyandotte County Lake that is not a fiberhood because it’s kind of out in the middle of nowhere.  So they were excited about that.  In Kansas City, MO it was a little different.  Most of the schools made it.  Center Middle School, Banneker Elementary and East High School were the ones that were in fiberhoods that did not qualify.

SUZANNE: It was reported in The Kansas City Star the day after the September 9th deadline, that the deadline would be extended.  But it didn’t really say how or in what way that would happen. Do you know what the deal is with that?

MARIA:  Your question tells us about as much as anybody knows actually.  Google, this has kind of been their ‘m.o’ They make a general announcement without much details and you don’t really know until they announce it again, and they’re pretty tight lipped about it. So people in those neighborhoods are just going to have to wait and find out.  We don’t know if it’s going to before the Northland and South Kansas City gets registered or has their own rally, or at the same time or after.  So it’s wait and see.

SUZANNE: Do you have any speculations on what some of the next steps for Google Fiber are?

MARIA:  Well, really their next step is getting it installed. You know, actually stringing it to people’s homes, having it hooked up, seeing how it all works in real life and not just at the fiber space.  And then also, I think there are a lot of lingering questions about how Google is going to do with customer service, and having to kind of provide all the services at that a traditional cable company does.  And then the next big step is just waiting and seeing how people are using this.  What apps, what technology will do, and how people are going to use this superfast internet.

SUZANNE:  Do you have any sense of how much people in other cities have been following Google Fiber’s launch in Kansas City?

MARIA: Not really, I mean clearly I think people, at least in 1,100 other cities wanted Google Fiber to come to their place.  I think what people are watching is what this technology does.  How it changes the marketplace.  If this is going to spur Time Warner, Sure West, some of the other cable companies to start decreasing their prices to retain customers or upping their internet speeds, and how it will affect that.

SUZANNE:  Kind of along the same line, have you heard in the tech and business world about Google Fiber’s launch in Kansas City, any criticisms, praise or jealousy?

MARIA:  (Laughs…) Well I think anybody who uses the internet a lot is probably jealous.  I think there is general excitement in that this is really the next step.  South Korea has really amazing internet speeds, I don’t think they’re quite this fast, but they’re a lot faster than what people have here.  So I think people are excited to see what Kansas City will do with this, and how it translates.  And if it really will spur on other places to demand maybe higher internet speeds.

*For ongoing coverage of Google Fiber in Kansas City click on the Google Fiber Tag below

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