Last year, Google put out a call to communities, asking for their interest in becoming an experimental site for the company’s plans to build out an ultra-high speed Internet network. Over a 1000 cities applied for the chance to get Google Fiber, and Google has just announced its selection: Kansas City, Kansas.
The proposed network will clock in at speeds about 100 times faster than what most households in America currently have access to, reaching about 1 gigabit per second.
The new network will be built in conjunction with the city, according to Google, which says it plans to work closely with local organizations, businesses, and universities as the infrastructure is built.
Bringing Americans better access to high-speed Internet is part of this effort from Google and is also part of a U.S. government initiative as well, with its National Broadband Plan. The government recently released a map of broadband availability in the country, highlighting how much work needs to happen to bring better (or in places, any) high-speed Internet access.
Access is part of the problem, but so is speed. As we consume more video online – for business and pleasure – broadband speed becomes increasingly critical. Google also hopes that by supporting high-speed Internet, it will in turn spur more innovations around technologies that depend on it, particularly around universities and hospitals.
Google says that, pending approval from the Kansas City’s Board of Commissioners, the service will be available beginning next year. It also says it’s looking at ways to bring the same Internet speeds to other countries.
Back in February 2010, Google announced its plans to build out a fiber-optic network for a city in the United States, promising connection speeds around 1Gb/s — 100 times faster than the broadband most people are used to. The announcement led 1,100 cities to apply, and today Google has just announced the winning city: Kansas City, Kansas.
For you lucky Kansas City residents, Google has launched an informational page outlining what their plans are (it also provides some background about Google itself). The site’s FAQ says that Google hopes to begin building the network by the end of the year and that service should begin in the first quarter of 2012, with plans to roll out to all communities in Kansas City. Once the service is live pricing will be “competitive to what people are paying for Internet access today” though Google hasn’t yet named the plans.
Dont be too depressed if you happen to live somewhere outside of Kansas City, though. In the video below announcing the news, Sergey Brin says, “That’s why we’re rolling out to communities, starting with Kansas City, that are going to give one gigabit of access to every home.” So it sounds like we’ll be hearing about more community launches in the future. And hopefully Google’s roll-out will put pressure on major broadband providers to speed up their fiber roll-outs.