A second chance was not enough for a majority of neighborhoods to round up the number of customers needed to lure in Google Fiber.
At the same time, eight neighborhoods that fell short two years ago will be able to buy Internet and TV hook-ups from the California tech giant.
The company’s website showed that of 21 neighborhoods given a second shot at qualify, most fell short by a midnight Thursday deadline. Among those were a handful in Kansas City, Kan.
Across the state line in central Kansas City, several neighborhoods failed to rally enough customers to tempt Google to sell service to anybody in those areas. All of those neighborhoods, called “fiberhoods” by Google, are on the East Side.
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Meantime, all of the Kansas City and Gladstone in the eastern part of the Northland qualified. Earlier this summer, all but one neighborhood in the Platte County corner of Kansas City qualified.
Google has marketed its service with now-or-never sign-up periods and said it would only stretch its network into neighborhoods where enough customers sign up for the service to justify the company’s construction expenses. That cost-saving approach has been central to the company’s business plan for rolling out the super-fast broadband and TV subscription service.
The model differs from what cable companies faced years ago, when municipal franchise agreements typically required building across an entire city.
Two years ago, Google conducted sign-up periods in the midsection of Kansas City and all of Kansas City, Kan.
The vast majority of neighborhoods signed up enough customers to qualify for Google Fiber. But areas with large numbers of apartments and low-income families proved less likely to qualify.
Google acknowledged some hiccups in its approach to signing up those areas, and gave them a second chance this spring and summer to meet its subscription levels.
A Google spokeswoman said it encouraged more customers to sign up this time partly by emphasizing its so-called free service. Customers who pay $300 — in 12 monthly $25 payments — can get relatively slow broadband service for at least seven years. She said the company found the qualification of eight more neighborhoods “very exciting.”
Google, which does not reveal how many subscribers it has or which plans they buy, said that the “free” program has been popular.
Google Fiber is distinct because it runs fiber optic data lines directly to homes and sells ultra-fast Internet connections at consumer prices. Customers can buy connections with upload and download speeds nearing 1 gigabit per second — 50 to 100 times faster than found in most American homes — for $70 a month. Bundled with a basic cable-style TV package, the service sells for $120 a month.
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