“When is it coming here?”
That’s the logical first question for a Google manager making a presentation in Johnson County — and that was the first question fielded by Carlos Casas, marketing manager at Google Fiber in Kansas City.
Being pro-active can push a city further up the list, he said. Google Fiber recently added Olathe to the cities announced to receive the gigabit connections that Google is offering, jumping over lots of Johnson County territory between the first installations in Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo. Before Olathe, the only Johnson County cities on the list were Westwood, Westwood Hills and Mission Woods. The Northeast Johnson County Chamber of Commerce luncheon Thursday was filled with officials from cities interested in seeing the service come to their neighborhoods.
Casas said cities need to reach out and then work out an agreement: “It’s about finding something that is mutually beneficial.”
Prairie Village last fall brought citizens petitions to Google asking for the service. Casas said Google does look at how many people from an area go to updates at the Google Fiber page.
The focus now for Google is getting customers connected in already announced neighborhoods. That could take the rest of this year, he said. “We don’t want to announce new cities because we need to build out what we have.” The fact that Austin, Tex., and Provo, Utah, were recently announced as new Google destinations will not slow down work in the Kansas City market. “We are here to stay.” According to Casas, the Kansas City team will stay intact and not be diverted to the new destinations.
Google Fiber offers a gigabit connection into the home for both uploads and downloads. Casas said the United States ranks 13th in the world in internet speeds and the cost per megabit is high. The Google mission is to provide access to information, which means getting people connected.