In February of 2010 Google announced they'd be picking one lucky city where they'd build a fiber to the home test network, offering between 50,000 and 500,000 users 1 Gbps fiber connectivity. The announcement immediately created wave upon wave of free PR for Google as more than 1,000 cities vied for the search giant's attentions. However, after Google delayed the project last December, some started wondering if Google was wavering on the plan.
All doubts can be put to bed, as Google today announced that Kansas City, Kansas (not to be confused with its Missouri sibling) will be their test market. According to Google, the build begins now -- and city residents will begin seeing "less sucky" (see video, right) broadband service in early 2012.
That's not good news for regional ISPs Time Warner Cable and AT&T, who offer limited competitive options in the market -- none of which come remotely close to the kind of bandwidth Google is proposing -- particularly upstream.
"In selecting a city, our goal was to find a location where we could build efficiently, make an impact on the community and develop relationships with local government and community organizations," Google's Vice President of Access Services Milo Medin says over at the company blog. "Well be working closely with local organizations including the Kauffman Foundation, KCNext and the University of Kansas Medical Center to help develop the gigabit applications of the future."
Medin used to work for M2Z networks (the company that wanted to offer free national Wi-Fi in exchange for free spectrum) and Excite@Home, one of the industry's earliest ISPs that flamed out spectacularly in 2001. According to Medin, Google will be "looking closely at ways to bring ultra high-speed Internet to other cities across the country."
Before anybody gets too excited and the "Google wants to be an ISP" rumors return, that last statement likely means the company will use information gleaned from the project to help others deploy fiber -- not that Google themselves want to be the ones doing it. Google has previously stated they have no intention of becoming a nationwide ISP, and that this project is primarily about testing next-generation content and ad systems on next-generation broadband networks.