UPDATE: Google gigabit network going to Kansas City

The search giant hopes to start offering service next year

Kansas City, Kan., is the lucky winner of a 1Gbit-per-second broadband network that Google plans to build.

The search giant, which last year said it would choose a city in which to build such an ultra-high-speed network, hopes to start offering the service in early 2012.

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Google chose Kansas City for a number of reasons, it said. "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," Milo Medin, vice president, Access Services for Google, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.

During an event in Kansas City to announce the plan, Medin also said that the local utility has extensive existing conduit that Google can use to build the network rather than having to tear up streets to lay the fiber. 

The plan must still be approved by the city's Board of Commissioners, he said.

Google has said the network would serve 50,000 to 500,000 people with connectivity offered at what it called a competitive price. It initially planned to make a choice by the end of last year and said it might choose a number of locations. On Wednesday, it confirmed that it is still looking to choose additional locations for similar networks.

"For the others that applied and were not selected, this is the beginning and not the end," Medin said. "The entire country is going to be watching what happens here and we hope to bring this to other nearby cities and other markets."

Almost 1,100 cities initially responded to Google. The interest was so great that one city, Topeka, Kansas, changed its name to Google for one month.

In Kansas City, schools throughout the city and some government facilities will get free access to the network, Kansas City Mayor Joe Reardon said.

Google has said that its goal in building the network is to experiment with next-generation applications, new deployment techniques and open access.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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