Kansas City, KS Wins Google’s 1 Gig Network

Internet giant Google has selected Kansas City, KS as the location for which it will build a fiber-optic network that will provide Internet access speeds as fast as 1 gigabit of data per second, more than 100 times faster than the U.S. average.

Google officials joined KC Mayor Joe Reardon at Wyandotte High School today to announce the selection. Kansas City, KS vied with more than a 1,000 other locations across the nation in a yearlong competition that saw another city in Kansas—Topeka—briefly change its name to “Google, Kansas” in order to get a leg up in the contest (read BF blog post).

Google announced early last year that it wanted to build a fiber-optic, high-speed Internet network for a community of up to 500,000 residents that would provide as much as 1 gigabit of data per second, far exceeding the 10 megabit-per-second speeds available on the best cable modem or DSL lines. Nearly 1,100 communities throughout the country—including Kansas City, MO, Topeka and Overland Park, KS—responded to the announcement.

Google issued the following statement in making the announcement:

“As part of our overall goal to make the web better for users, last year we announced a new project: to provide a community with Internet access more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have today. The response was overwhelming—nearly 1,100 cities felt the need for speed—and we were thrilled by the enthusiasm we saw across the country for better and faster web connections. Thank you to every community and individual that submitted a response, joined a rally, starred in a YouTube video or otherwise participated.

After a careful review, today we’re very happy to announce that we will build our ultra high-speed network in Kansas City, Kansas. We’ve signed a development agreement with the city, and we’ll be working closely with local organizations, businesses and universities to bring a next-generation web experience to the community.

Later this morning we’ll join Mayor Reardon at Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, Kansas. 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. We’ve found this in Kansas City. We’ll be working closely with local organizations including the Kauffman Foundation, KCNext and the University of Kansas Medical to help develop the gigabit applications of the future.

Pending approval from the city’s Board of Commissioners, we plan to offer service beginning in 2012. We’ll also be looking closely at ways to bring ultra high-speed Internet to other cities across the country.

Over the past decade, the jump from dial-up to broadband has led to streaming online video, digital music sales, video conferencing over the web and countless other innovations that have transformed communication and commerce. We can’t wait to see what new products ands services will emerge as Kansas City moves from traditional broadband to ultra high-speed fiber optic connections.”

Kansas City, KS officials said the investment ultimately could put the region on the map with tech meccas such as California’s Silicon Valley and North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park.