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Who's Rallying for Google Fiber?

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

At least 35 "Fiberhoods" in the Kansas Cities have already met their pre-registration goal to get hooked up with Google Fiber, the FTTH network Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s building to support symmetrical 1Gbit/s broadband speeds and a bundled TV service.

Rather than making Google Fiber available to everyone in Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan., all at once, Google's turned the introduction of services (and how quickly residents can get them) into a game of sorts, urging residents to pre-register (for $10). Fiberhoods that meet their goal and have the most pre-registrations will be in the front of the line. Fiberhoods that don't get enough pre-registration volume by Sept. 9 are out of luck, at least until the next rally. (See The Google Fiber Threat and Google Fiber Bundles TV, Shuns Data Caps.)

In addition to adding some cache to its customer-acquisition efforts, Google is also using this concentrated, volume-driven approach to make its business model work. (See Google Fiber's Drive for Density .)

At last check, 31 of the 128 listed Fiberhoods in Kansas City, Mo., have already met their goal, with an area called Greenway Field leading the way with a 19 percent pre-registration total. And the goals vary. The city's business district, for example, will need a pre-registration of 25 percent to qualify for Google Fiber. It still needs 311 more to sign up, but was more than halfway there as of Monday afternoon.

The level of pre-registration activity is not nearly as energetic on the smaller, more blue-collar Kansas side of the border. There, just four of 74 total Fiberhoods (5.4 percent) are currently beating their goal, with Hanover Heights out in front with pre-registration rate of 21 percent.

Despite the slow start on one side of the border, there's still lots of time left for local residents to make incumbents like Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and SureWest Communications (Nasdaq: SURW) sweat this out. Google's accepting pre-registrations for another 41 days.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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Pete Baldwin
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:25:30 PM
re: Who's Rallying for Google Fiber?

I think I count 8 regions that are shaded gray, for "none." Which I assume means absolutely nobody has shown interest in Google Fiber.

That's very interesting. I don't know how many people are in each "fiberhood," but I'd have expected each zone to have at least *one* person who's interested.

But it's early. Maybe they're just procrastinating.

User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:25:29 PM
re: Who's Rallying for Google Fiber?

 "There, just four of 74 total Fiberhoods (0.05 percent) a"  ... Only off by a two orders of magnitude.

Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:25:27 PM
re: Who's Rallying for Google Fiber?

Definitely the early going, so we'll have to check back in a bit to see how things are progressing. We'll have more on this soon, but Teresa Mastrangelo at BroadbandTrends issued a report on the buildout this week and does note some differences between the Mo. and Kan. fiberhoods, namely that the bulk of the Kansas-side fiberhoods have a participation goal of 25%, versus the 5 percent to 10 percent goals that some other areas have.  She notes that the goals are set up based on how easy or complicated the build and installations are expected to be. JB


Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:25:27 PM
re: Who's Rallying for Google Fiber?

Yeesh, thank you for catching that.  JB

User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 5:25:26 PM
re: Who's Rallying for Google Fiber?

There are some gaps in the information here. Does this program mean that GOOG will build out only when it has a guaranteed 25% market share? Getting to even 20% in a market with existing services is a years-long process.

User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:25:26 PM
re: Who's Rallying for Google Fiber?


Umm, so I have to pay $10 to get Google to do my neighborhood first?  And if I don't the delay is how long?  Imagine AT&T or Verizon or Comcast doing that.



Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:25:25 PM
re: Who's Rallying for Google Fiber?

As I understand it, they are providing service only in fiberhoods that meet their pre-registration goal. Not sure that means they'll automatically get 5 percent, 10 percent or 25 percent penetration (depending on the goal of the given fiberhood), but I would think that most people who bother to spend $10 on a pre-registration will go through with subscribing to the broadband service or broadband + TV bundle. 

I also wonder what happens to the people who spend their $10 but don't make the cut?  Do they get a refund if their fiberhood doesn't meet its goal? Or do they get to apply that to the next "rally," whenever that is to occur. Google hasn't said anything about what happens after this rally, but i've got it on my list of questions for them.

And to Seven's point, I'd also like to take a closer look at their franchise agreement with the city.  Some might argue that this approach, while smart because it creates demand and  lets Google establish some baseline volumes within these fiberhoods, is akin to redlining since it would seem that Google will get to target the more well to-do neighborhoods first and push out installations in  lower income areas. JB  


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