Google (s goog) should celebrate — if it considers getting ready to spend a few hundred million in capital expenditures reason to celebrate — because as of Sunday night, it has pre-registered enough people in Kansas City to deploy its gigabit fiber to the home network to 180 out of its 202 “fiberhoods.”
In what must have been a heck of a last-minute push, Google managed to sign up several neighborhoods that weren’t looking like they would get Google’s service. As of Friday afternoon when I had counted 21,000 people having pre-registered for the service I noted at least 50 areas — what Google calls fiberhoods — that hadn’t yet made the cut and most were in low-income neighborhoods.
When Google announced its plans to offer a gigabit service for $70 a month
plus the $300 one-time connection fee as well as a free 5 Mbps service that allowed registrants to pay the $300 connection fee up front or over a period of 1 year at $25 a month, it also opened up a new way of signing up for the service.
The search giant had divided the residents of Kansas City (in both Missouri and Kansas) into different areas called fiberhoods. It then asked residents to pre-register for the service and gave them six weeks to get their neighbors on board as well. The fiberhoods with the most interest would get fiber first, and in order to get fiber, enough residents had to sign up. From today’s Google blog post on the end of the pre=registration period:
Three fiberhoods reached their goals on the very first day of our announcement and from there, you just took off, encouraging your friends and neighbors to pre-register. The momentum has been terrific—63 fiberhoods qualified in the past week alone. From Hanover Heights, which qualified for Fiber in just two hours, to Ivanhoe Southeast, Coronado and more, which just qualified in the last few hours, your response has been tremendous.
Google says on Thursday it will name the neighborhoods where it will first deploy its gigabit goods and the order in which all the other fiberhoods will get connected. It also said that the “fiberhoods” that did not qualify will get a second chance. The blog post says: “If you live in one of those fiberhoods, we want you to know that we’ve heard your concerns. We will include you in a future rally sometime next year, when you can try to qualify for Fiber again.”
While Google hasn’t disclosed numbers of pre-registered subscribers, it has surpassed my expectations when it comes to the number of neighborhoods where it will deploy fiber. The benefit of getting even the minimum number of people signed up in neighborhoods is that Google will then deploy gigabit service to select schools and community centers, where even residents who didn’t sign up can see the Internet at gigabit speeds. Hopefully that will prompt greater adoption.