And the winner for Google's ultra-high-speed broadband pageant is... Kansas City.
Google March 30 said Kansas City beat out almost 1,100 cities clamoring to be the guinea pig for Google's proposed broadband test, which will bring Internet access speeds of 1G bps to thousands of homes in the city.
The search engine inked a development agreement with the city to build broadband networks that shuttle data more than 100 times faster than most residential broadband connections. Assuming everything checks out with Kansas City's board of commissioners, Google will switch on the service in 2012.
Google in Feb 2010 announced its plan to construct speedy fiber networks, ostensibly to boost application consumption.
Faster Internet connections open new opportunities for programmers to write gaming applications and other graphically intensive programs. Google's own YouTube video-sharing service would benefit greatly from speedier data facilitation, generating more video views and more ads served.
Google requested volunteer bids from municipalities, triggering frenzied competition for the free service. Politicians jumped into freezing lakes and swam with sharks to catch Google's attention.
The search engine closed the bidding last March, after 1,100 communities and 194,000 individuals applied. The search engine had planned to announce its choice by the end of 2010, but failed to get through the applications in time.
Kansas City has been deemed the winner. Google will work with the city's Kauffman Foundation, KCNext and the University of Kansas Medical Center to "help develop the gigabit applications of the future," said Milo Medin, vice president of access services for Google.
"In selecting a city, our goal was to find a location where we could build efficiently, make an impact on the community and develop relationships with local government and community organizations. We've found this in Kansas City," Medin added.
Kansas City beat out its in-state rival Topeka, which went so far as to change its name to Google, Kansas, to attract the search engine's attention.
A Google spokesperson offered this condolence quote to eWEEK:
"We want to thank Topeka and the hundreds of other cities across the country that expressed interest in our project. This was a tough decision, and we want everyone to know we carefully considered every application."
The good news here is Google pledged to bring its fiber and ultra-high-speed access to other cities around the United States.