That was fast. Just a few days ago, Google officially opened registration for the 1 gigabit fiber network it is launching on both the Kansas and Missouri sides of Kansas City. Within just two days, more than 20% of the eligible neighborhoods on the Missouri side have already reached Google’s thresholds for bringing its super-fast fiber network to their “fiberhoods” and quite a few others are just a few signups away from reaching their goals.
Things aren’t moving quite as fast in Kansas City, Kansas, though, where the median household income is significantly lower than on the other side of the city. There, only three neighborhoods have met Google’s goals so far and many are still hundreds of signups away from meeting Google’s thresholds for bringing fiber to their houses.
When Google officially launched Google Fiber last week, it set up an unusual system for deciding where to roll it out first: the company separated the metropolitan area into “fiberhoods” with 250-1,500 households and potential subscribers have to pre-register for Fiber service for a $10 fee. Every one of these neighborhoods needs to reach a certain threshold of households that register (usually somewhere between 5% and 25%) before Google will start rolling out Fiber there. Neighborhoods that don’t reach their pre-registration goals by September 9 will be last in line and those that reach their goals will be prioritized based on the total number of pre-registrations in each area.
The fiberhood that’s currently leading the charge is Wornall Homestead, where 17% of households have already registered (Google’s threshold there was 10%).
To get Fiber to their neighborhoods first, some people have decided they don’t want to leave things up to chance. Zaarly CEO Bo Fishback, for example, is using his own service to hire a “Google Fiber door-to-door salesman” who can knock on doors in his neighborhood to make sure enough people pre-register. Fishback will also pay his neighbor’s pre-registration fees.
As our own Ryan Lawler pointed out yesterday, it will still take a while before the first Google Fiber connections go live. We’ve also heard from a number of tipsters that local incumbent Time Warner is currently working hard on locking its customers into multi-year contracts to make switching harder for them. There are also still a few neighborhoods in Kansas City Kansas where not a single resident has signed up yet. There are still 42 days left until September 9, however, and we would be very surprised if most of the neighborhoods on both sides of the city won’t reach their goals until then.