Google Ready To Start Stringing KC Fiber

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Google said it has completed drawing up buildout plans for its fiber-to-the-home network in Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., and that initial fiber construction is ready to roll.

The initial fiber deployment, to be performed by Braselton, Ga.- based Atlantic Engineering Group (AEG), will focus on the backbone network before moving on to connect neighborhoods. The Internet giant is promising blistering-fast 1 Gigabit per second symmetrical Internet access to residents, schools and municipal buildings in the area.

"As we build out Google Fiber, we'll be taking thousands of miles of cables and stretching them across Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri," Google Access general manager Kevin Lo, who is overseeing the Kansas City buildout, wrote in a blog post Monday. "At first, we'll focus on building this solid fiber backbone. Then, as soon as we have an infrastructure that is up and running, we'll be able to connect Google Fiber into homes across Kansas City!"

Google has not announced expected pricing, initial areas of availability, equipment suppliers or other details of the fiber service other than the 1 Gbps connectivity speeds.

Last year Google had said it would start the signup process for customers in Kansas City, Kan., in the fourth quarter of 2011. The company decided to delay that process until the fiber buildout was closer to launch.

The project is already in its second year: Google in February 2010 announced the "Think Big With a Gig" contest, under which it said it would construct a 1 Gbps FTTH network somewhere in the U.S. to create a test bed that would showcase next-generation Internet applications and push for government policies to facilitate super-fast broadband.

After receiving applications from more than 1,100 communities, Google in March 2011 picked Kansas City, Kan. (with a population of 147,000), then expanded the FTTH project to include neighboring Kansas City, Mo. (population 460,000).

According to a report in The Kansas City Star last month, the project had stalled because of a "dispute" about how aerial fiber should be connected to utility poles on the Kansas side. However, Google and officials with the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities, the municipal power and water provider that owns the utility poles, said the fiber buildout remained on track and insisted that the pole-attachment provision of the agreement wasn't a source of contention.

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