Sunday, September 09, 2012

Congratulations, Kansas City!

On July 26, we kicked off a six-week rally to find out where you wanted us to build Google Fiber. Since then, we’ve been amazed and humbled by your excitement and commitment to the future of the Internet. 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.

Pre-registration just closed, and at least 180 out of 202 fiberhoods have qualified for service.

This number has blown us away—and it’s not even the final tally. We’re still processing some final address verification requests and pre-registrations from apartment buildings and condos. On Thursday we’ll share the final list of fiberhoods that have qualified for Google Fiber and the order in which they’ll be constructed, along with more details about the next steps. So stay tuned!

This rally has been the first step in working toward one of the long-term core goals of Google Fiber—increasing access to the Internet. That’s why we’re connecting libraries, schools and community buildings in qualified fiberhoods. But affordable access at home is important too. So one of the three packages we offer is a Free Internet plan. Homes in Kansas City can get their own Fiber connection and today’s average Internet speeds for $0 per month, plus a construction fee.

We’ve been working hard to get the word out about Google Fiber. And we’ve learned from our many conversations—spontaneously on the street and at hundreds of community events—that offering an affordable service is only one step towards increasing Internet access. In fact, studies show that the main reason people don’t want the Internet is that they don’t think the web is relevant. So, over the past six weeks, we’ve worked side-by-side with many amazing community organizations to try and lessen the digital divide, and spread the word that access to the Internet is an essential element of everyday life.

Together we’ve made good progress during this pre-registration period, but there’s still work to be done. Some fiberhoods won’t qualify this time around. 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.

We’ve been truly inspired by, and have learned so much from, the efforts of local nonprofits, community centers, libraries, schools, and churches to pre-register their neighbors. And we want to continue working with these groups as they promote digital literacy throughout the community. So going forward, we aim to support great organizations in Kansas City in a programmatic and strategic way, through grants and joint educational efforts focused on digital literacy. Together we will work to equip Kansas Citians with the knowledge and tools they need to get online and use the web to their advantage for education, job hunting and more. We’ll have more details about this program soon.

We couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this community. Thank you, Kansas City!