Google just announced Kansas City, Kansas — pop. 145,000 — as its first city for building out a super-fast fibre optic network, to offer Internet access that is supposedly “more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have today.”
The network will launch in 2012. No word yet on pricing, or whether the operator will offer unlimited access or metered access.
Why is Google doing this?
Google benefits when there is fast Internet access, whether they are the provider or not. Although there are some added benefits it may be able to get by being both the application provider and the service provider, building or buying a telecom company is probably not in Google’s short list of expansion ideas.
It’s really because this could scare the cable and phone companies into getting their act together and actually build out better networks before a well-funded company like Google even becomes a threat.
The only major telecom companies based in the greater Kansas City area are Sprint Nextel and whatever is left of Embarq (now part of CenturyLink, based in Louisiana). So it’s not like Google is invading Comcast or AT&T’s home turf.
But if the people of Kansas City love this new service, it could send the right message to the telcos: Get your act together, or Google may do it for you.