Google starts installing fiber customers

The Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Fiber installation process, slow to start, has officially kicked off with the company promising to slam shut the installation windows process commonly used by other service providers. Google says its installers will set a time to connect subscribers to its 1 Gbps fiber-to-the-home network--and stick to it.

If it happens--and despite the best of intentions, there are myriad circumstances that could keep the installer away from an appointed time--Google will break a process that has come in for widespread ridicule: the multi-hour appointment window during which consumers wait for the service provider technician to arrive and deal with a problem or installation.

"We are going to change that," promised Alana Karen, Google customer service director, in a Kansas City Star story.

Google also needs to change the perception that there will be more delays rolling out the ultra-high-speed triple play service in the Kansas Cities and surrounding communities. That perception arose almost as soon as the service was announced in 2010 and launch dates fell by the wayside thanks to delays that were never fully explained to the public.

Even now, the initial process of rolling out service to a handful of "beta" customers in Kansas City, Kan., has been slow, but that was only because Google was learning how to do it right, company said.

To push things along, customers will get an "easy-to-use setup" kit and have access to live help via phone, Internet chat, e-mail or social media with calls going to a contractor working in Austin, Texas, or Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. On-premises installations will be handled using "local Kansas City folks" who were trained in Kansas City and Mountain View, the company said.

For what it's worth, Google Fiber promises that the service will be installed "through most of Kansas City, Kan., by the end of next year." Areas of the city south of the Missouri River and north of Interstate 435 should also expect to be wired by the end of next year.

"From there, the company has said it will look to expand its network into the rest of Kansas City" on a schedule that remains a mystery, the newspaper said. And at some point after that, it will start to wire communities to the north of Kansas City in Johnson County.

For now, Google is sticking to the fiberhoods that first signed up, such as Hanover Heights, where installations should be completed by next month before the service provider moves to Dub's Dread. Residents there have until tomorrow to sign up for a specific service, with Google adding 22 new channels to sweeten the deal, according to a Google Fiber blog.

For more:
- the Kansas City Star had this story
- Google Fiber had this blog

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