When and where will Google Fiber roll out next?
Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan., are cruising the Internet at gigabit speeds, while the rest of the country looks on with envy.
If you've spent any time online, you've played the waiting game. Waiting for a site to load. Waiting for your photos to upload. Waiting for a video to download.
That's why so many of us salivated when we first heard about Google Fiber, the blazingly fast connection that promised Internet speeds 100 times faster than what most Americans have today.
It's been three months since the service launched in Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan. And, yes, it's fast. Street View images load almost instantly. You can open multiple browser windows and simultaneously play high-def video. Skipping ahead in a video doesn't entail thumb-twiddling as you wait for it to buffer. At least, that's the experience at the Google Fiber Space, the store built to showcase the service.
For the average resident it may be less of a game-changer since most people don't have all the hardware necessary to optimize the speedy network. Still, it's hard not to get giddy about the potential of a gigabit network. Doctors could diagnose patients remotely. Students could listen to lectures from any location. High-quality video conferencing would enable better collaboration with employees.
The Kansas City area has attracted a small but tenacious startup community with entrepreneurs wanting to build products to satisfy our future gigabit needs. You're probably thinking, that's swell, but when will that future arrive in my 'hood? Don't look to Google for an answer. It has plans to expand its reach in the Kansas City area. But as for the next city beyond that, Google is tight-lipped.
CNET Senior Writer, Casey Newton speculates that it could be one of the many cities that lobbied to be the first to get the service when it was announced in 2010. Take Topeka, Kan. -- which changed it's name to Google briefly. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) took to YouTube to plead his case for Duluth. Google has also run tests exploring the possibility of installing Fiber closer to home, in Palo Alto, Calif.
Newton reminds us that Google Fiber is an experiment, and that it's been an expensive one, with some analysts estimating that it cost between $6,000 and $8,000 to bring Google Fiber into a single home. At those prices, Google may not be rushing to get fiber to every city in the U.S. If you just can't wait, you might want to think about Googling for cheap flights to Missouri.
Bye-bye, buffering. Hello, Kansas City! I hear they have great BBQ.