Google asks K.C. residents to 'rally' for gig fiber service

The year-long wait to learn what Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has in mind for Kansas City is over. The search engine giant, via its blogs, today announced a three-service Google Fiber package available to those who want it in the Missouri-Kansas city. The key phrase there is "who want it" since residents are being asked to pre-register to show their desire and to "rally" their neighborhoods to get connected faster--or perhaps even at all.

When the service hits a neighborhood, residents will have the option to choose between three tiers of service.

The top Google Fiber offering is a $120-a-month Gigabit + Google Fiber TV, described on the company's blog as "a gig (of broadband) plus TV, designed for how you watch today and how you'll watch tomorrow. The package promises "hundreds of channels," including locals and "tens of thousands of shows on demand in crystal clear HD."

The set-top boxes will have eight tuners and two terabytes of storage. And if this isn't enough to convince consumers, Google has tossed in a Nexus 7 tablet to use as a remote control. For now, the company said, a $300 construction fee is being waived.

The second tier is the $70 monthly Gigabit Internet. This includes a gigabit enabled "network box" with advanced WiFi and a terabyte of cloud storage on Google Drive. The $300 construction fee is again waived.

The third package is Free Internet which is not completely free since the $300 construction fee is no longer waived. This package is for those who are not ready to yet commit to one of the other packages, the blog said, adding those who pre-register and whose "fiberhood" gets installed will "have the option to get a 5 megabit per second (Mbps) connection for zero monthly charge, and you home will be wired and ready for the switch."

The trick is to make your fiberhood one of the chosen ones. Google is using something of a reverse cherry-picking process here. Rather than choosing which neighborhoods it connects, it's leaving matters to the residents and a "rally" to sign up for service.

To get the service, Google is asking Kansas Citians to pre-register with "some basic information" and a $10 good faith deposit. It's also asking those who like the service to "rally your neighbors."

That last part might seem like a bit of hype until you read the small print.

"We'll install only where there's enough interest, and we'll install sooner in fiberhoods where there's more interest," the blog said. "The rally lasts for six weeks and ends on September 9. When you participate, not only will you help bring Google Fiber to your home, you'll also help bring it to your community—if your fiberhood reaches its pre-registration goal, we'll also connect community buildings like schools, libraries, libraries and hospitals with free Gigabit Internet."

Google's end game is to let the Kansas City community "choose where we install and when," wrote Milo Medin, vice president of access services, on his own blog. "This is an exciting new project for Google and we can't wait to get homes connected to Google Fiber in Kansas City--because we're pretty certain that what people do with a gig will be awesome."

As long as they pre-register to do it. And rally their neighbors.

For more:
 - see this blog
 - and this blog

Related articles:
Google Fiber teases launch of 1-Gig network in Kansas City
Time Warner has employees sussing out Google's K.C. plans
Report: Google could extend FTTH to other cities

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