Kansas City Wins Google's Fiber Ethernet Gigabit Internet Project
3/30/2011 by: John Oram
Wednesday, Google choose Kansas City, Kansas (PDF) as the location for its ultra high-speed fiber project. Click on Google Earth and you will see Kansas City is near the middle of America.
Google's chief financial officer, Patrick Pichette, was at Kansas City's Wyandotte High School and explained that Google Fiber will deliver 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) Internet speeds that's 2,000 times faster than dial-up and more than 100 times faster than a typical broadband connection. Also on hand were Google's vice president of access services, Milo Medin, Kansas City's Mayor, Joe Reardon; and Kansas State Governor, Sam Brownback. There were obviously a lot more adults in the high school auditorium than the students who will benefit most from the fiber backbone when installed.
Global Average on the Connection speed in 10 selected countries.
The announcement culminates a search of 1,100 locations for the installation. Over the past year, cities have even been willing to rename themselves as well as cut through bureaucratic red tape to speed up the permit requirements to win Google's 1Gbps fiber backbone. Petaluma, California video takes the angle of bringing jobs to town. Duluth, Minnesota has a tongue-in-cheek comedy approach to their competition.
Kansas City is less than 25 miles from the headquarters of Sprint Nextel in Overland Park, Kansas. Sprint kept a stiff upper lip and said: "Today's announcement from Google is further proof of something that Sprint has known for many years: Kansas City is a great place to do business and is firmly on the cutting edge of broadband deployment. Sprint considers Google a partner and recently announced the new Google Nexus S and integrated Google Voice services for all Sprint CDMA phones."
Google's Medin said of the timeline for the project: "We're not exactly sure until we get the engineering and planning done but [are] hoping to offer service in 2012."
Last year, the FCC launched a set of digital tools - the Consumer Broadband Test and the Broadband Dead Zone Report, enabling people to test their broadband service and report areas where broadband is not available for purchase at their household. The broadband test measures broadband quality indicators such as speed and latency, and reports the information to consumers and the FCC.
To give a bit more of an understanding of how fast Google's fiber backbone in Kansas City will be, our office the capitol of California is paying for ADSL Broadband which has advertised speeds of 3,000Kbps upload and 512Kbps download.
FCC Consumer Broadband Test for Sacramento, California
As you see above, we are actually getting 86 percent of the advertised download rate and 83 percent of the advertised upload rate. In most of California, there is a 20 to 35 percent "optimistic" factor in the advertised Broadband speeds. Akamai reports that in the US, the average ADSL Service over the old copper networks tops out at 4.6Mbps in most areas. Compared to the world, the US came in 16th overall in average connection speed at 4.6Mbps, above the global average of 1.7Mpbs, but more than 2.6 times slower than South Korea. South Korea is about the size of Indiana, the 38th geographically ranked state in the US.
Worldwide Internet Access speed in 2010. Source: Akamai
Most people have forgotten all those promises from the telephone companies of the 1990's. Through tax breaks and increased service fees, the incumbent telcos have harvested an estimated $300 billion since the early 1990's to improve their subscriber phone lines in the US. At the All Things D conference in May 2007, when Senator John McCain was still seeking the Republican nomination for President, he told the audience, "When you control the pipe, you should be able to get profit from your investment?"
Global Average on Monthly Data Download or Why U.S. Telcos are trying to impose caps. Credit: USTelecom.org
What have the American consumers received for their $300 billion payment to the phone companies? Clearly not what was promised to be a fully installed: Mbps optical fiber nationwide system by 2006. Somehow during those intervening years the incumbent phone companies didn't get around to installing the promised fiber to our front doors. Whatever the reasons, the FCC didn't find it in their best interest to enforce those promises made by the telephone companies.
When it is operational, Google's Kansas City fiber network will give the FCC and Congress insights into what broadband speed are really like. Instead of what the incumbent phone companies are doing today with their long paid for wireline telephone system and ADSL.
Wednesday afternoon Google sent out this addition to their press release by Milo Medin, Vice President, Access Services:
"Update 4:15PM PST: We've heard from some communities that they're disappointed not to have been selected for our initial build. So just to reiterate what I've said many times in interviews: we're so thrilled by the interest we've generated. Today is the start, not the end of the project. And over the coming months, we'll be talking to other interested cities about the possibility of us bringing ultra high-speed broadband to their communities."
Google's 1Gbps project installation will have the incumbent phone companies press people working overtime. They'll be trying to figure out excuses about why their company cannot compete with Google's fiber backbone in Kansas City.
Google, Fiber, Fiber Optics, 1Gbps, Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, Gigabit, 45Mbps, 4.2Mbps, 1.7Mbps, ADSL, FCC, Broadband, Wyandotte High School, Kansas City, Overland Park, Kansas, South Korea, California, All Things D, Patrick Pichette, Milo Medin, Joe Reardon, Sam Brownback, John McCain
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