Google has begun to solicit customers for its first Internet service geared not for homes but for businesses.
On Tuesday, the company said it would charge $100 a month for broadband speeds of 1 gigabit per second through its new Google Fiber service for small businesses. Only businesses in a handful of neighborhoods in Kansas City and Kansas City, Kan., will be able to buy the service.
Those neighborhoods are roughly bordered by Armstrong Avenue, 18th Street, Central Avenue and Interstate 70 in Kansas City, Kan.
In Kansas City, the area is roughly bordered by the state line, Gregory Boulevard, the Paseo, and 75th and 79th streets.
The company said it hopes to expand the service for businesses elsewhere in the market later, but it did not say when.
Google Fiber is charging its businesses more for the gigabit speeds than the $70 it asks of residential customers for the same bandwidth.
A company spokeswoman said that reflects specialized customer services. Businesses also will have the ability to buy one to five static IP addresses — an advantage many businesses seek — for an extra $20 or $30 a month. That will make it easier for them to run dedicated servers to host websites or to let employees have remote access to their networks.
Companies also will be able to use their own Internet routers.
“We’re not limiting sign-up based on type or size,” a company spokeswoman said, “but we will work with each business during site survey to make sure Google Fiber meets their needs.”
Companies were eligible to sign up for the service beginning Tuesday. Google said it hopes to begin delivering the service by the end of the year but said construction issues might delay that.
For two years, Google Fiber has slowly been rolling out its groundbreaking Internet hookups to residential customers across the Kansas City market. It sells super-speed Internet connections at prices competitive with those offered by cable and telephone companies, which have boosted their speeds in response.
Meanwhile, small high-tech businesses have been clamoring for a way to tap into the Google Fiber network.
In April, the company said it would roll out a pilot version of its business service to a limited number of customers in the Kansas City market. Now it’s begun expanding beyond that pilot program.
The new product is likely to be most tempting to smaller businesses. Large firms can usually afford to buy heavy-duty data connections to move information to and from the Internet. Google’s fiber optic network would allow smaller outfits, especially tech startups, to afford light-speed connections.