Google Fiber said it will kick off the first quarter of 2013 by expanding installations into five more "fiberhoods" (areas with 250 to 1,500 households) in Kansas City, Kan.
Google Fiber began to launch services in its first fiberhood -- Hanover Heights -- last month, and is now finishing network installations in the second one, Dub's Dread. (See Google Fiber Starts to Hook Up Customers and Google to Light Up Second Fiberhood.)
Google Fiber announced on its blog that consumers in the Piper Schools area will choose their service plans by Jan. 31, 2013; followed by Delaware Ridge (Feb. 14); Painted Hills and Open Door (Feb. 28); and Arrowhead (March 7). Google Fiber will not begin installs in qualified fiberhoods on the Missouri side until the spring, starting with Crown Center, Midtown and Sunset Hill, according to the company's buildout schedule for that region.
Google Fiber is using a demand-based, pre-registration system to determine which parts of Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan., will get services, which include a $70-per-month 1Gbit/s broadband service that can be teamed with a subscription pay-TV bundle starting at $120 per month. (See Google Fiber's Drive for Density and Google Fiber Bundles TV, Shuns Data Caps.)
"We started slowly in Hanover Heights and Dub's Dread, bringing Fiber to a few homes each day. But now that we've gotten into a good rhythm of installations and customer support, we're ready to pick up the pace," wrote Google Fiber Community Manager Rachel Hack.
Google has not disclosed how many Kansas Citians are getting its fiber-fed services so far, "[b]ut we are very pleased with how many customers we have so far in our first two fiberhoods," Google Fiber spokeswoman Jenna Wandres said.
Why this matters
The coming service sign-up period means Google Fiber hopes to get off to a (relatively) fast start in 2013 as it gets ready to greatly accelerate deployments in the summer and fall. It also means Google Fiber is pretty much on track now, giving the area's incumbents -- Time Warner Cable Inc., AT&T Inc., SureWest Communications and Comcast Corp. -- some fair warning and time to decide how they will counter Google Fiber with pricing and product packaging.
Among that group, TW Cable has already responded by raising the speeds of several in the region, though its top end Docsis 3.0 tier still maxes out at 50Mbit/s downstream.
â€” Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable