Google Network to Launch in Kansas

By Sarah Graham, Communications Specialist, Connected Nation

Today, Google announced that it would deploy its first ultra-high speed fiber network in Kansas City, Kansas, after receiving applications from 1,100 cities around the country. Kansas City residents will have access to the 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) service beginning in 2012, according to news reports. In addition, Google will be providing free access to schools and other city facilities as the network is launched.

This will provide an impressive boost for Kansas community anchor institutions, as only 28% of these institutions that reported their broadband connection to Connect Kansas in 2010 reported using fiber.

For Connected Nation and its Connect Kansas program, this new fiber network is welcomed and exciting news. Already, Connect Kansas, along with other Connected Nation states, has researched and documented speed and platform data in Kansas as part of its comprehensive broadband mapping and planning program.

“At Connected Nation and Connect Kansas, we are excited to see this level of private investment going toward the infrastructure of the future,” said Brian Mefford, CEO of Connected Nation. “For Kansas City residents, businesses and schools, the ability to connect to an ultra-high speed network is an economic game changer in many respects. We look forward to measuring the impact and to helping everyone achieve more with this new community asset.”

The Google network promises to deliver ultra-high broadband speeds of 1 Gbps at competitive prices. According to Connect Kansas data, only 3 percent of Kansas households have access to broadband networks with download speeds of 100 Mbps, one-tenth of the speed of the Google network.

According to Connect Kansas’ 2010 Residential Technology Assessment, the average download speed reported by broadband-connected Kansas households is 5.7 Mbps, which equals about 0.006 Gbps. In fact, about 56,000 Kansas households report that they do not subscribe to broadband because it is not available at any speed, and 147,000 report that price is a barrier.

Google’s announcement of high-speed fiber (and its 1 Gbps speed) will not only change how fast Kansas residents can use the Internet, but also what kind of technology they use to do it.

According to 2010 data, approximately 4 percent of Kansas residents have access to a fiber connection, and fiber accounts for approximately one in twenty home broadband subscriptions. By comparison, 87.3 percent of households have access to digital subscriber line (DSL) and 77.3 percent have access to cable broadband.

These numbers from Connect Kansas certainly show an interesting starting picture of broadband speed and the platforms available in Kansas. Google’s commitment to Kansas City will certainly change the picture dramatically and we are excited to watch and document these changes.

To learn more about the Google fiber project in Kansas City, check out Google.com/fiber/kansascityks.

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