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Google Fiber launches faster internet service in Kansas City

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Posted at 5:54 AM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 07:04:41-04

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — In April, Google Fiber began offering 2 gigabits per second download speed for residential internet customers in 22 municipalities around Kansas City, Missouri.

The tech giant is the first internet service provider to offer speeds of 2Gbps in the area.

“So far so good, we’ve been really pleased by the response here. People are ready to go fast,” said Rachel Merlo, Google Fiber’s government and community affairs manager in Kansas City.

She met 41 Action News at a home where technicians were installing the new service.

2Gbps service does require a new “WiFi 6” compatible router, which is included in the cost of service.

Google is charging $100 per month for 2Gbps speeds; which is $30 more than the 1Gbps rate.

Merlo said 2Gbps allows people to connect multiple devices to one router in a more seamless way, with no lag or buffering, for example.

“What we know is people are running lots more activities [online], especially over the last year,” Merlo explained. “Whether it’s working, or schooling, or gaming, or shopping from home. What 2Gig enables is for that to be a more seamless experience, unlike what they might have experienced before.”

The new router uses WiFi 6 technology. Merlo admitted not all devices are WiFi 6 compatible yet. So while customers with older tablets, phones and computers will notice an increase in speed, they won’t be able to take full advantage of the 2Gbps speed until they begin using WiFi 6-capable devices.

Over time [devices will all be compatible] and those folks who have 2Gbps capabilities, they’re going to be the first to really take off on that super-fast track,” Merlo said.

Google Fiber competitors Spectrum, AT&T and Consolidated Communications offer 1Gbps internet speeds in Kansas City.

A Spectrum spokesperson sent a statement to 41 Action News stating, “all Spectrum Internet plans have no data caps, modem fees or contracts. And Spectrum Internet customers have exclusive access to Spectrum Mobile, which combines the fastest overall speeds and a choice of unlimited or by the gig data plans.”

During Spectrum’s first-quarter earnings call two weeks ago, its CEO said several plans are in place to offer multi-gigabit upload and download speeds for customers in the future.

AT&T’s spokesperson responded to the inquiry saying, “Our customers are looking for speed, reliability and affordability – we’re satisfying that with AT&T Fiber, which includes no data limits, no contracts, next-gen WiFi equipment, fast speeds and security features. They get award-winning service on their terms.”

AT&T does offer WiFi 6 capable routers and says that technology paves the way for multi-gig internet speeds for its users in the future.

Consolidated Communications said it is in the process of a five-year project to bring multi-gig speeds to more than 70 percent of its service area.

A company spokesperson went on to say, “Beyond speed, we pride ourselves on network reliability, never capping data, and delivering outstanding, local service for our customers.”