Google has announced the first planned expansion for its super-fast Internet service Google Fiber. Available to residents of Kansas City on both sides of the Kansas - Missouri state line since July 2012, the service is now moving some 20 miles southwest to Olathe, Kansas where it will reach a modest population of 125,000. According to a post on the Google Fiber blog, the Olathe city council just approved the agreement with Google on Tuesday, so there’s still a lot of planning and engineering work ahead of an actual launch.
Google says it will announce details about pre-registration and construction timing once it gets the process underway. If it’s anything like the initial rollout, the company could ask for a $300 construction fee to get the fiber installed in your house and start building out its gigabit network in ‘fiberhoods’ where interest is higher.
In the case of Kansas City, upon launch Google decided to waive that upfront fee in two of three different packages offered: Gigabit Internet + TV for $120 a month or Internet-only for $70 a month. In both cases you get 1,000 Mbps download and upload speeds with no monthly bandwidth caps and no overages. The third package involves the option to still pay the $300 fee but get 5Mbps internet access for free for "at least" seven years.
It’ll be a while before we see a wider availability of Google Fiber in the U.S., but the Olathe expansion and a mention of a possible expansion to other cities in the Kansas City metro area is encouraging.
At the very least it should encourage other ISPs to step up their efforts and offer similar speeds for residential users at competitive prices -- although some believe there’s actually no demand for such a service.