Rumor mill: Google plans pay-TV service test in Kansas City

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is planning to launch a pay-TV service in Kansas City on the back of its Google Fiber project, the 1 gigabit per second test network it plans to build out early in 2012.

The Wall Street Journal, citing sources briefed on the company's plans, said Goolge could also offer telephone service as part of a triple-play package that would go head-to-head with telco and cable offerings already in place.

AT&T (NYSE: T) and SureWest  (Nasdaq: SURW) both offer IPTV service in the area. Last month, AT&T added about 100 U-verse installers to its workforce there as it identified Kansas City as a "growth area" for the service; SureWest rolled out a new "watch & buy" DVD service. Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) and Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) also serve Kansas City.

Google has long sought to establish a beachhead in the space. It stumbled with a disastrous launch of its Google TV play and generally has been seen as a pariah by a Hollywood establishment worried about content security on the public Internet. But the Journal said former cable-TV exec Jeremy Stern, who Google hired in September, has been working with content owners and media companies on the pay-TV project.

Google last week said it planned to roll out scores of channels of professionally produced content on YouTube, announcing deals with celebrities and content production companies; it also released an updated version of its Google TV software.

For more:
- see this WSJ article

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Google TV, cable look at partnerships
Will Widevine acquisition help scratch Google TV's Hollywood itch?
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