To the residents of Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri: we hate you. Sincerely, every Internet user in the United States.
We've known about Google's plan to roll out its very first fiber optical Internet and cable service in the twin Midwestern cities for months, but today the full scope of Google's plans has been revealed on the fiber.google.com page. The options are staggering, the technology is drool-inducing, and the extras are enough to make even Google I/O attendees jealous. Beginning in September, Google will begin to roll out its fiber to neighborhoods in both cities that have rallied enough residents to request the service on the Google Fiber website. The gigabit Internet access won't blanket the cities - Google has separated the area into zones, and before including any given zone in the initial offering, it needs to meet unspecified quotas of pre-registered residents.
If you happen to live in Kansas City, trust us, you want Google Fiber, and so do your neighbors. It's split up into three tiers. The first tier gets absolutely free Internet. Yup, free Internet on what's soon to be one of the fastest residential networks in the country. Users will have to pay up for a $300 construction fee or the cheaper $25 a month plan for a single year, but after that free access is guaranteed for at least seven years. The free tier includes Google's branded "Network Box" (a combination modem and WiFi router), 5Mbps down and 1Mbps up.
The second tier is $70 a month, has access to full Gigabit speeds, and waives the construction fee altogether. The extra dough nets you 1TB of storage space on Google Drive - which you'll no doubt want to take advantage of, after getting connected to the fiber optic network. The $70 plan requires a one-year contract.
But the really tempting package is the top tier at $120 a month, combining Internet and cable TV. For that you get free installation, 1TB of Google Drive space, a 2TB Storage Box server, a Network Box and cable TV Box, and a free Nexus 7. Google's flagship tablet will serve as the remote for the TV Box. Users of all three plans can also add a Samsung Chromebook for $299 or more.
It's not all gravy at the top tier - you'll need to sign a two-year contract to qualify, and initially Google's TV service will be missing some premium content like HBO. But if you're in the center of the Venn diagram of people living in Kansas City and Google's digital universe, it's a mighty tempting offer. Remember that to qualify, enough of your neighbors will have to pre-register on the Google Fiber website by September 9th. Kansas City residents, it's time to start knocking on doors.