By Jeff Fox
and Kelly Evenson
Google Fiber promises to bring a far speedier Internet to its users, but Google isn’t being speedy about coming to Eastern Jackson County.
“We haven’t set any kind of timeline,” said Google spokesperson Jenna Wandres.
The company says it’s on track to roll out Google Fiber by the end of the year in central Kansas City, Mo., and in Kansas City, Kan.
“It’s going well. We’re making good progress,” Wandres said.
In addition, the company has announced agreements to eventually come to more than 15 suburban cities, from Leawood and Overland Park to Gladstone, Raytown and Lee’s Summit. This week Mission Hills and Fairway were added to the list.
But not Independence or Blue Springs, though both cities are interested. People are calling City Hall and asking about it, officials say.
“We’ve made our interest known (to Google) on multiple occasions,” Independence City Manager Robert Heacock said.
It’s the same in Blue Springs, said City Administrator Eric Johnson, adding that the timetable is entirely up to Google.
“Definitely the entire city wants access to this technology,” he said. “All we can do is let them know that we are ready.”
The difference in service is expected to be remarkable. Typical Internet speeds now are 8.6 megabyte per second, and Google Fiber promises 1,000 megabytes – one gigabyte – per second. Wandres said that’s something akin to the jump from dial-up service to broadband.
“It basically gives you an Internet connection that’s very fast,” Wandres said.
The company’s assumption is that one gigabyte will be the speed of the Internet of the future.
“And Kansas City is on the ground floor of the transition,” she said.
Beyond the work to be done by the end of the year in Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan., Google has announced no plans for when the suburban cities with agreements will get service. After a city and the company reach an agreement, Google has to sit down and look at what its network in that city will look like. Some lines run on utility poles, and some will be underground, for example. All of that has to be mapped out.
“So that really takes a long time,” she said.
For now, suburban cities wait.
“I think all I can say is we’ll have an announcement in the future,” Wandres said.