A handful of small businesses in Kansas City (in both Kansas and Missouri) now have access to Google Fiber as part of the search giant’s Early Access Program for Google Fiber for Small Business, which launched Tuesday.
The service, which provides customers with 1Gbps of Internet connectivity, launched in select area of central Kansas City in what the company is calling “fiberhoods,” making them the first businesses in the nation with the service.
“Whether a business uses their connection to move to the cloud, get closer to customers on Hangouts, or bring more transactions online, we’re excited to see what happens when Kansas City businesses say farewell to slow speeds and hello to all the tools and technologies that they need to grow,” wrote Carlos Casas, the Kansas City field team manager for Google, in a blog post.
Google Fiber for small businesses costs $100 per month, and customers won’t be charged the usual installation fee that Google levies on residential users in exchange for running a fiber line to their home or business.
Kansas City was the first to be chosen for the Google Fiber project after it was first announced and is still the only metropolitan area to have the service deployed, even though it’s only been in a handful of towns and neighborhoods so far as the technical aspects are still being finalized.
In 2013, Google Inc. announced that Austin, Texas, and Provo, Utah, also would receive the service, which is slated for installation later this year. In February 2014, Google announced it had “invited cities in nine metro areas around the U.S. — 34 cities altogether — to work with the company to explore what it would take to bring them Google Fiber.
The nine metropolitan areas are: Atlanta; Charlotte, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; Phoenix; Portland, Oregon; Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; Salt Lake City; San Antonio; and San Jose, California.
The service is attractive to metropolitan areas as it gives residents and businesses an added incentive to live or be based there. Google benefits because faster Internet speeds mean a higher usage of the Internet where Google’s search engine still ranks as the most visited website in the world and could bring added revenue for the company.
Tuesday’s announcement signifies the first time a business community is connected to the service and will act as a launching pad for other business areas throughout the county as the service continues to be deployed.
“Earlier this year, we started a pilot in Kansas City to learn more about what business owners need,” Casas wrote. “We heard from documentary filmmakers, flower shops, web development agencies, and more. All of these small businesses have a lot of ideas on how a faster Internet connection could speed up their entire business — we can’t wait to see what they do with Google Fiber.”