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Google set to give a little backbone to Kansas City high-speed Net

It's been two years since Google announced the 1-gigabit-per-second Google Fiber project. Now it's ready to start building it.

Kevin Lo, general manager of access at Google
Kevin Lo, general manager of access at Google, speaking at Broadband World Forum 2011.
Stephen Shankland/CNET

Google is ready to start laying fiber-optic lines in Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan., for its Google Fiber project to catalyze the shift toward higher-speed Internet access.

Google announced the project two years ago and announced Kansas City as the lucky recipient of the 1-gigabit-per-second Internet access. It turns out it's not easy to deploy that fast a network for hundreds of thousands of people, though, and as Google works its way through the challenge, faster broadband is gradually arriving elsewhere, too.

Kevin Lo, general manager of Google Access, announced today that Google is done surveying and measuring and now is ready to lay fiber. But for starts, it'll only be the backbone of the network, not the connections to actual homes and businesses. Lo said:

As we build out Google Fiber, we'll be taking thousands of miles of cables and stretching them across Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri. Each cable contains many thin glass fibers, each about the width of a human hair. We'll be taking these cables and weaving them into a fiber backbone--a completely new high speed infrastructure that will ultimately be carrying Kansas Citians' data at speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have today.

At first, we'll focus on building this solid fiber backbone. Then, as soon as we have an infrastructure that is up and running, we'll be able to connect Google Fiber into homes across Kansas City!

It's not clear how grand Google's plans are for the network, but it's possible Google could bring Google Fiber to some parts of Europe, MarketWatch reported last year.

In a speech in September, Lo urged governments to lower regulatory barriers to faster broadband.

Google, a giant on the Web, benefits directly when people get faster, more pervasive Internet access. Not only does it mean more people can use the company's core revenue-generating product, search, it also means it can build more sophisticated online applications for things like word processing, maps, video, and social networking.