After years of anticipating ultra-fast Internet service, Prairie Village residents recently learned that both Google Fiber and AT&T GigaPower are arriving simultaneously in the northeast Johnson County city.
It’s a high-tech boom that’s coming to several Johnson County cities this year and next.
In 2013, Prairie Village approved an agreement with Google Fiber to develop an ultra-high-speed, fiber-to-home network in the city. “Make ready” construction is now underway, said Nolan Sunderman, Prairie Village assistant to the city administrator.
“Google Fiber is working in the city now, replacing utility poles as necessary,” he said. “They have not released a schedule yet when residents will be able to sign up.”
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In February, Prairie Village announced that AT&T’s GigaPower fiber-optic network is also coming to the city.
“That means some residents, at least, will have a choice when it comes to high-speed Internet service,” Sunderman said.
While neither company plans to offer ultra-fast lines to every home in the market, both plan to serve areas with the highest demand.
Sunderman said Prairie Village residents are receiving door-hangers prior to construction activity beginning in their immediate neighborhood. Both Google Fiber and AT&T subcontractors will be working within the city’s right-of-way and utility easements to install both aerial and buried conduits and replace utility poles.
Google Fiber offers a connection that’s 100 times faster than today’s basic broadband speeds.
AT&T Gigapower, now available to residents in parts of Overland Park, Olathe, Leawood and Lenexa, provides download and upload speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second. The company also offers television, home phone and wireless service and plans to expand to Shawnee and other Johnson County cities.
Residents in Westwood, Westwood Hills, Mission Woods and Roeland Park began signing up for Google Fiber last summer. In addition to those cities and Prairie Village, work has started in Olathe and Shawnee.
More Google sign-ups will begin this summer, spokeswoman Kelly Mason said, adding, “We are making good progress in Johnson County and look forward to expanding signups to additional areas later this year.”
Both Google Fiber and AT&T are in the process of installing fiber in Olathe, said Erin Vader, communications and public engagement manager.
“Google Fiber work has been ongoing for over a year. They have a three-phase build-out and we are entering phase three, which involves work in the neighborhoods. AT&T just began work in Olathe.”
Vader added, “We have yet to receive a definitive timeline from either provider as to when actual service will be available to Olathe residents.”
Spokespersons for both AT&T and Google Fiber said residents can visit company websites at att.com/gigapower and fiber.google.com and enter their address to see whether service is available at their address. They can also enter their e-mail address to receive updates.
Sean Reilly, Overland Park spokesman, said AT&T began connecting new GigaPower customers in February. “AT&T seems to be moving pretty quickly,” he said.
AT&T launched its new Gigapower network less than eight months after making a commitment to Overland Park, said Chris Lester, senior public relations manager for AT&T.
Google Fiber is expected to begin work in Overland Park some time in 2015, Reilly said. The company has not received any right-of-way work permits to date, he said. Work by both companies is expected to continue throughout 2015 and into 2016 without interruption.