TWC Spoiling for Fiber Fight With Google in Kansas City


Google’s 1 Gigabit-per-second Internet fiber-to-the-home
service — as well as a companion IPTV service with 161
channels and multiscreen access — will be ready soon in
Kansas City, Kan., and central Kansas City, Mo.

So will Time Warner Cable.

After Google released details of its new high-speed test
bed, TWC spokesman Justin Venech said, “Kansas City
has been a highly competitive market for a long time, and
we take all competitors seriously. … We are confident in
our ability to compete.” Time Warner Cable, the market’s
dominant cable operator, offers a top speed of 50 Megabits
per second downstream.

Google said it will charge $70 per month for standalone
Internet service and $120 per month for TV plus 1-Gig service
with a two-year contract. Users also have the option
to get 5-Mbps downstream Internet access for no monthly
charge for at least seven years, if they pay a one-time, $300
“construction fee” or pay $25 per month for 12 months.

However, a listing of the service’s initial channel lineup
excludes a number of top cable networks, including HBO,
ESPN, Fox News Channel, TNT, TBS and AMC.

The Google Fiber service isn’t currently available, and
the company will determine where it will initially hook
up residents in the next several months based on online
registrations. Google said about 10% of a neighborhood’s
households will need to sign up for service to be part of the
first wave of customers.

“It’s Internet 100 times faster than most Americans have
today,” Google vice president of access Milo Medin said at
the company’s launch event Thursday in Kansas City, Mo.
“I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard someone say
they think their Internet connection is too fast.”

The Internet service, which provides 1 Gbps both
downstream and upstream, includes “no caps, no overage
charges,” said Medin, who in the last decade led the cable
industry’s @Home broadband project. The service includes
1 Terabyte of Google storage for photos and other media.

The Google Fiber TV service includes a 2-Terabyte
DVR, or enough storage for up to 500 hours of HD programming,
with the ability to record up to eight shows
at once. Subscribers will have access to “tens of thousands”
of VOD titles. The TV service also will be available
on Android and iOS devices, and will include
voice-enabled search. Google is throwing in its recently
announced Nexus 7 tabet for free; it functions as a remote
control for the TV service.

The Google Fiber TV service also will include content
supplied from local organizations and groups in Kansas
City, according to the company.

Mike Reynolds contributed to this report.