Gigabit Cities

Google Fiber Means Business in KC

Flexing its fiber muscles further in its first market, Google Fiber has started rolling out commercial telecom services for small firms in the Kansas City area.

Google Fiber Inc. has started soliciting smaller businesses for its first commercially tailored offering in Kansas City. As originally reported by the Kansas City Business Journal last week, the Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) unit is sending out mailers to firms asking if they would like to be among the first in the market to receive its commercial offering. (See Google Adds Shot of Fiber to Starbucks.)

Launched officially on the company's website Monday, the "Google Fiber for Small Business" program offers up to 1Gbit/s symmetrical speeds to smaller firms for $100 a month, or $30 more than its residential offering. The commercial program also offers "high-performance WiFi, gigabit routing, firewall protection, online network management," static IP addresses and dedicated technical support to commercial customers, among other features.

With the launch, Google Fiber is broadening its assault on the market's two major incumbent broadband service providers, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC). Google Fiber already has disrupted the market with its residential 1-Gig offering, which has prodded telcos and cable operators to boost their maximum broadband speeds as high as 1 Gbit/s themselves in markets across the US.

In particular, Google Fiber is encroaching on the turf of TW Cable, which has focused heavily on building up business services in its largest markets. TWC, which is now expanding into the middle market after concentrating almost entirely on smaller firms, generated well over $2 billion in commercial services revenues across the country last year and will likely end up with close to $3 billion this year.

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.

Under its "Early Access program," Google Fiber said it's starting out by offering commercial services in "select areas of central Kansas City." Those areas cover "a handful of fiberhoods" in both Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, Mo. The provider is waiving all construction fees for this first batch of customers.

A spokeswoman for Google Fiber said the deployment "is a small rollout to start." But, she added, "plans are to expand in the coming weeks."

With its intent to extend its reach to as many as 34 more cities in nine major US markets, Google Fiber is now operating in the Kansas City and Provo, Utah metro areas and building an all-fiber network in Austin, Texas. In a blog on its website, the company noted that "we know that small businesses play a big part in Provo and Austin, too. And while we don't have specific plans for small businesses in other cities right now, we'll be sure to share updates when we can."

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

kq4ym 11/14/2014 | 8:35:54 AM
$100 Bargain It would seem that Google does really mean business in Kansas. For $100 a month, any business offered the deal should run not walk to sign up. How the competition is going to respond will be interesting. With plans for 30 more cities, Google is going to create lots of PR in coming years, most of it free. That advertising will be worth it's weight in gold. Competitors aren't going to get and free PR while Google expands it's fiber across the country.
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