Google Fiber brought is 1 Gbps fiber-to-the-home network live in Kansas City, Mo., in its first step toward delivering high-quality, affordable fiber-based service in select metros around the country. Now, Google has received permission to deploy an experimental Wi-Fi network in the city.
There aren’t many details available, but the Kansas City Star reports that City Council members voted 11-2 last week to give the technology giant access to city light poles for antenna placement.
According to the paper: “Robert Jystad, a Google consultant who presented the company’s plan to the City Council, said the project is motivated partly by the inability of existing Wi-Fi and cell networks to keep up with fast-growing demand for bandwidth.”
Industry watchers have painted the test as a way to provide high-speed connectivity in dense, urban areas where fiber deployment is either physically impossible or cost prohibitive.
KMBC reports the initial Wi-Fi network tests will target specific parts of Kansas City including downtown, Country Club Plaza and Waldo.
The Google Fiber service is currently available in Austin, Texas; Provo, Utah; and Kansas City. Upcoming scheduled fiber cities include San Francisco; San Antonio; Nashville, Tennessee; Huntsville; and Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte, North Carolina.
Building on its growing service provider business lines, Google recently announced its Fiber Phone service, which builds on the Google Fiber Internet and TV service to create a triple-play service offering.
The Fiber Phone service costs $10 per month and includes unlimited local and nationwide calling; option to keep or pick phone number; call waiting; caller ID; and voicemail transcription. For international calling, the same rate structure used for Google Voice – six cents per minute to France and one cent per minute to India, for example.
In a blog post announcing the service, Google Fiber Product Manager John Shriver-Blake billed Fiber Phone as a way to retain access to a landline while maintaining mobility.
“Your Fiber Phone number lives in the cloud, which means that you can use it on almost any phone, tablet or laptop,” Shriver-Blake wrote. “It can ring your landline when you’re home, or your mobile device when you’re on-the-go.”