April 15, 2014

Most neighborhoods in south Kansas City, Grandview and Raytown will get Google Fiber

Two Raytown neighborhoods missed Google’s sign-up requirements, so the company won’t sell it’s mega-broadband Internet there. But it will hook up homes in 73 other neighborhoods.

Google has decided to sell its TV subscriptions and ultrafast broadband connections in south Kansas City, Grandview and Raytown in all but two neighborhoods.

The company will sell the video and Internet connections in 73 neighborhoods in the southern third of the city. Google Fiber reported Tuesday that enough residents in those areas agreed to purchase some level of service to meet thresholds set by the company.

Google’s so-called rally for the area closed at midnight Monday. The firm aims to keep down construction costs by selling hookups only in areas where demand justifies the company’s investment. So it sets qualification levels in each neighborhood — from 5 percent to 25 percent of households, depending on the difficulty of stringing fiber optic cables through what Google calls “fiberhoods.” Potential customers must put down $10 deposits to count toward their neighborhood qualification total.

Numbers revealed Tuesday showed Google had greater success recruiting customers this spring than it did in its first run of rallies. In early fall 2012, the company said too few customers signed up in about 15 percent of neighborhoods — mostly poorer areas.

Both of the neighborhoods that missed Google’s most recent cut are in Raytown. One neighborhood is bordered roughly by Raytown Road, 59th Street, Blue Ridge Cutoff and 52nd Terrace. The second area is broadly east of Blue Ridge Cutoff, south of 83rd Street, west of Elm Avenue and north of 87th Street.

Meanwhile, households in Kansas City, North — mostly in Platte County — have until May 15 to meet Google’s deadlines. Thirteen neighborhoods there remain short of Google’s sign-up goal. Another area north of the Missouri River and mostly in Clay County has until June 19 to sign up. Twenty-six neighborhoods there have yet to reach Google’s requirements.

Google has marketed its drive for customers as a now-or-never chance to have the company hook fiber optic lines to homes, implying that households that pass now might not get another chance to buy Internet connections or TV subscriptions from the company.

But the central Kansas City areas that fell short of Google’s sign-up rate two years ago have been given a second chance. They have until June 19 to sign up in high enough numbers to satisfy Google.

Google has said that installations for qualifying neighborhoods will be completed by the end of this year.

The company has not said when it will begin work in other suburbs. It still lacks contracts to sell service in Overland Park and Independence.

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