ISPs ask city for deal matching Google Fiber's special treatment

By on October 2, 2012, 5:00 PM

Envious communications companies are requesting parity deals from Kansas City's local government -- deals which match the special treatment Google received while deploying its city-wide gigabit fiber service. Google Fiber went live about two months ago for both KC and KCMO, offering subscribers a choice between 1Gbps Internet for $70/mo or a bundle which includes Google Fiber TV for $120/mo. Google Fiber Internet is free of data caps and also comes with 1TB of cloud storage.

Despite an initial $300 hook-up fee, nearly 90 percent of serviceable areas opted in when Google Fiber was ready to roll into their neighborhood. The apparent, remarkable interest was likely swollen by Google's offer to include seven (or more) years of 5Mbps Internet connectivity with every hook-up -- even for households not interested in TV or 1Gbps Internet.

City officials truly pulled out all the stops (pdf) for the search giant, granting it free office space, waiving fees, offering it free power, expediting permits and charging a mere $10 per telephone pole for weaving its fiber-ous web across the city -- by comparison, that's nearly half the cost everyone else pays. As a result, Time Warner Cable, AT&T, Verizon -- and possibly others -- are hoping to get their own velvety slice of discount pie.

Of course, it is important to remember Google distinguished itself from other industry players by becoming a disruptor. TWC, AT&T, Verizon and others have had plenty of time to offer their own Google Fiber-like service, but squandered that opportunity for one reason or another. Kansas City seems to recognize this though, so while it has purportedly already signed off on a sweeter arrangement with TWC, officials required TWC to initiate service improvements and community assistance in exchange for a more Googly deal.

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