Technology

May 16, 2014

Kansas City’s west Northland will get Google Fiber in all but one neighborhood

The only one of the neighborhoods to fall short is north of Barry Road, east of Interstate 29, west of North Hull Drive and south of Missouri 152. Google Fiber says it will complete installations to most neighborhoods in the western part of the Northland by the end of the year.

Residents in all but one neighborhood in the western part of Kansas City’s Northland rounded up enough customers to qualify to buy Internet and TV hookups from Google Fiber.

The company will sell its video and superspeed Internet connections to the neighborhoods where the number of interested customers reached the thresholds determined by Google. The company hopes to keep down costs by building only where demand is strongest.

Its sign-up rallies also work to recruit its most eager customers to coax their neighbors to buy from Google as well.

The only one of the neighborhoods — Google calls them “fiberhoods” — to fall short is north of Barry Road, east of Interstate 29, west of North Hull Drive and south of Missouri 152. The bulk of the area is occupied by a car dealership, strip malls and apartment complexes. Because Google requires attachments to every unit in an apartment building or none at all, it’s often had trouble making deals with landlords.

Still, the round of sign-ups that ended at midnight Thursday was the first time Google has had just one neighborhood fall short.

“Time and familiarity have made a difference,” a Google spokeswoman said in an email. “Back in 2012, a lot of people hadn’t heard about Google Fiber yet.”

Residents in the eastern part of the Northland, including Gladstone, have until June 19 to make a pledge to buy service from Google.

The company says it will have all those installations complete by the end of the year, but it’s missed other construction deadlines in its rollout.

Google markets its drive for customers as a now-or-never chance to get the company’s fiber optic lines linked directly to homes, implying that households that pass now might not get another chance.

But the central Kansas City areas, mostly on the East Side, 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.

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

To reach Scott Canon, call 816-234-4754 or send email to scanon@kcstar.com.

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