Commentary

Google Gives Kansas City Residents Internet Fast Lane

Google today unveiled its long-awaited fiber broadband network in Kansas City. The new network will offer download and upload speeds of up to 1Gbps -- more than 100 times faster than average U.S. connections.

The company intends to offer residents of Kansas City (in both Kansas and Missouri) three different packages. The top tier will include Internet connections as well as TV for $120 a month. A middle tier of Internet-only service will cost $70 a month. The company also plans to offer speeds of 5 Mbps for free to residents who pay a one-time fee of $300.

Google will roll out the service by neighborhood -- or what the company calls "fiberhoods." The company is asking residents to register by making a $10 deposit; communities where the most people do so will be the first to receive the new fiber service.

Google's upcoming network won't just be faster than average -- currently around 5 Mbps in the U.S. It will be among the speediest in the country, rivaling the 1 Gbps fiber network created in 2010 by the city of Chattanooga, Tenn.

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The move obviously is good news for Kansas City residents. Unfortunately, people who live in other cities are still stuck with sluggish service for now. A report put out last week by the New American Foundation shows that U.S. residents often pay more for slower broadband connections than in other parts of the world. For instance, some residents of Seoul pay less than $33 a month for triple-play Internet-TV-phone service with broadband speeds of 50 Mbps in both directions. In New York City, by contrast, Time Warner subscribers pay around $112 a month for triple play service with download speeds of 15 Mbps.

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