Gigabit Cities

AT&T to Fill Google's Gigabit Void in Kansas

As quickly as Google Fiber suddenly informed residents of Leawood, Kan., that it will no longer extend its gigabit network to their community, AT&T has made it clear that the city is a target for its own GigaPower service.

Google Fiber Inc. told gigabit-interested Leawood residents by email last Thursday that "we've found that it would require a much more difficult construction effort and schedule than planned. So unfortunately we won't be bringing Google Fiber to Leawood," according to an article in the Kansas City Star. Speculation in local media is that Leawood regulations requiring fiber facilities to be buried rather than aerial proved too costly for Google. A Google Fiber spokesperson did not reply to Light Reading's request for comment.

Meanwhile, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), which already had announced the greater Kansas City market as a GigaPower target, submitted a memorandum of understanding to the City of Leawood to start discussions about extending its gigabit network and services to that market. Leawood City Administrator Scott Lambers tells Light Reading that the MoU was unanimously approved by city council last night, but that it only sets out general parameters and is not specific about AT&T's buildout plans. AT&T spokespeople did not reply to Light Reading's request for comment. (See AT&T Grows Gigabit Goals.)

For the latest on Gigabit Cities, visit Light Reading's broadband/FTTx content channel. And watch for forthcoming details on Light Reading's Gigabit Cities Live event, to be held in May 2015 in Atlanta.

Google Fiber's Leawood action is just the latest development in what increasingly looks like an elaborate tactic by Google to raise awareness among communities' residents about gigabit services and spur broadband competitors to deploy gigabit networks, but not to actually deploy the networks in all the markets where it has promised it would. (See Frontier's Gig Beats Google to Oregon and Are Gigabit Cities Lands of Confusion?)

The City of Leawood also issued a statement on its website that raises the question of whether Google Fiber violated a confidentiality clause by communicating with residents and local media about its Leawood bailout: "The City of Leawood cannot comment on any aspect as to why Google decided to unilaterally cancel the agreement due to the confidentiality clause that remains in effect for BOTH parties. I am having a legal review performed to determine if the communication by Google violates that clause, and if so, would render it null and void and thus allow the City to issue a press release regarding the facts of the situation which has been prepared and is ready to be released, but remains sealed."

— Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, Light Reading

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Duh! 11/5/2014 | 11:36:14 AM
Re: One more thing from an Access Guy At last night's post-election party wake, I explained the shotgun test to a New England born and bred, gun control advocating, well-to-the-left-of-center friend. 

The spit take on her face was priceless.

brooks7 11/5/2014 | 1:38:25 AM
One more thing from an Access Guy Guys,

Access is the dirty part of the business.  There are no high performance metrics being measured in the local loop.  There we have Shotgun Tests on Street Cabinets.  Yes - we do.  If you think I am kidding go look it up.  That is a Test in the GR.  So is a Water Intrusion Test and a Salt Fog test.  It is the place where all the low cost, high volume connections are made.  I must have told the story of the lady who lost her FiOS service because she knocked the ONT off the side of her house with a sledgehammer a 1000 times (She didn't like the color!).

City permits - digging up streets - powering - battery maintenance - old plant - unionized workforces...all issues before we get to the user ones or lightning or AC power cross.  Raise your hand if you have heard of the Panasonic Answering Machine problem!

Wireless has their own issues in the RAN.

Building an access network is a dirty, ugly business.  And what you all want is people to throw a ton of money to get faster service and pay less dollars to do so.  Me too...I want that too.

My experience is that guys who have worked on OSS, Switching, Transport, and other "clean" parts of the business are always shocked by how different the Outside Plant is. We sent a guy from Chicago (used to work on TITN) for ride alongs with FiOS service guys.  When he got back I asked one question, "Anybody answer the door naked?"  He just smiled and laughed, because...yes someone had.  I said, "Welcome to Access."


danielcawrey 11/4/2014 | 10:30:45 PM
Re: unsightly fiber Google doesn't want to be a broadband provider, they just want to push for faster pipes at this point. 

I could envision that in the beginning of this Fiber initiative Google had the best of intentions to provide a service better than the incumbents. But it is proving to be too difficult to enact than the company initially thought it would be. 
brooks7 11/4/2014 | 10:03:13 PM
Re: unsightly fiber Dan,


Cost of the OSP construction is the number 2 factor for most carriers in the business case for FTTH.  For Google it will be number 1 by far as the normal number 1 is loss of customers to competitors.


DOShea 11/4/2014 | 9:29:57 PM
Re: unsightly fiber If Leawood is "pretty fancy," doesn't that suggest high revenue potential?, too, and maybe worth the expense?
DOShea 11/4/2014 | 9:27:07 PM
Re: Google's statement I wonder if this decision is a strong indication of how Google Fiber will operate under Dennis Kish.
jasonmeyers 11/4/2014 | 5:17:34 PM
AT&T's statement An AT&T spokesperson did respond after this story was published, but the carrier doesn't have much to say on the Leawood topic yet. Here's AT&T's statement:

"The ratification of the MOU by the city council is an indication of our mutual interests in working to potentially bring the AT&T GigaPower network to Leawood."
KBode 11/4/2014 | 3:14:25 PM
Re: unsightly fiber I forgot we were talking FTTH. I have U-Verse on the brain. :) I wonder if they'll wire the whole town or just higher-end developements like in most Gigapower locations?
brooks7 11/4/2014 | 3:08:27 PM
Re: unsightly fiber Kbode,

That is the thing about FTTH.  You don't need to have cabinets.  What you need are the small boxes in neighborhoods that typically serve 8 homes.  They are about the size of 4 breadboxes, but you could do smaller boxes for fiber.  Theoretically, you could do all the splitting in the CO but it is hard to terminate the cables that way.


KBode 11/4/2014 | 2:52:38 PM
Re: unsightly fiber AT&T's been pretty resistent to bury cabinets underground too, I wonder what exactly they plan to do differently here?
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