Interest in Google’s fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) project in Kansas City is now running high enough for at least 180 of the city’s 202 neighbourhoods to qualify for deployment of the network.
The search giant recently closed the pre-registration phase, and is still processing some final address verification requests and pre-registrations from apartment buildings and condos, before announcing the final list of neighbourhoods (or “fiberhoods” as Google calls them) on September 13.
Kevin Lo, General Manager of Google Access, relates that after conducting studies and polling local opinion, one of the main reasons many people don’t want the internet is that they don’t think the web is relevant, and has thus been working side-by-side with many community organisations to “try and lessen the digital divide, and spread the word that access to the internet is an essential element of everyday life”.
Lo adds that Google plans to engage with local organisations in a “programmatic and strategic” way, through grants and joint educational efforts focused on digital literacy, and will release more details on this shortly.
Google’s new FTTH network was conceived as an experimental test bed for the search giant – a way to learn even more about internet usage, perhaps with a view to rolling out similar networks in other parts of the US.
The service does not come cheap however: the cheapest monthly package costs $70 per month on a two-year contract, offering a 1Gbps broadband-only connection. There is also a dual-play package of broadband+IPTV for $120 per month, which offers the above plus access to Google’s brand new IPTV service.
With Amazon and Google launching smart home initiatives, have the telcos missed out on their chance to cash in on this market?
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