Google Fiber Arrives in Kansas City: Do Users Care?

With Google Fiber soon coming to town with its 1-gigabit Internet speeds and newfangled cable TV service, a sampling of Kansas City residents say they are mostly excited for the new options in their community.

After being chosen more than two years ago by Google as the place to unveil its fledgling Google Fiber gigabit-speed Internet and cable television services, residents of Kansas City are already signing up to be the first customers now that Google has started to take preregistrations.

In interviews today with eWEEK, a sampling of three Kansas City residents said they're excited to get Google Fiber service and that they have high hopes it will be a big improvement over existing cable offerings in their neighborhoods. However, at least one resident said the service won't appeal to her, while another outside the initial rollout area said she can't wait for the service to be available to her in the future.

"We were over the moon when Google first announced that Kansas City was the first city" to get Google Fiber, said Coleen Shaw-Voeks, who lives in downtown Kansas City, Kansas. "We've gone through DSL and cable Internet here [at her house], and they've been slow and unreliable. This was super exciting. I even watched the [Google service announcement] conference call online yesterday, and of course there was lag and it was dropping on YouTube" because of existing cable service shortcomings.

Shaw-Voeks, a private running coach, said she registered for the new service right away. "I didn€™t have to think twice about it."

The Google name immediately gives her confidence in the new service and her bad experiences with other local Internet providers gives her reason to try something new, said Shaw-Voeks.

"I've had a Gmail account from early on, and I was on Google+ right away. I use Google Docs to send weekly schedules to my clients,€ said Shaw-Voeks. I've had no problem with them, and I've had a lot of problems with my current Internet provider, including terrible customer service, so I am looking for any reason to tell them to bug off."

Shaw-Voeks said she's even considering making up some flyers about the new service and distributing them on her own to her neighbors to urge them to sign up so they can be among the first neighborhoods to get service. "I am totally into it," she said.

Jase Wilson, a self-described "civic geek" who was actively involved in lobbying Google to bring fiber to Kansas City, said he's fired up about the project because it will ultimately bring new tech-savvy people and their energy to the region due to the super-high-speed Internet backbone.

"This can bring a lot more than just faster connections," said Wilson. "This will bring people here to live and work. The connection itself is just sort of a catalyst. There's a chance for Kansas City to be on the national radar for a little bit in terms of technology."

Wilson, who builds software for municipal governments for Luminopolis, said he'll be signing up to get Google's Internet-only package for fiber service in his southwest Kansas City, Mo., neighborhood. "If I get the TV package, then I'm not going to ever work," he said.

Another resident, Sonya Andrews, said that in less than 24 hours, more than 13 homes had already signed up for the new service in the first day of registration in her Coleman Highlands neighborhood in Kansas City, Kansas.

Andrews, a graphics and Web designer and illustrator, said she's excited to be able to leave her existing Internet provider, Time Warner Cable, now that Google Fiber is arriving. Her service with Time Warner is slower and not reliable enough for her business, she said.