Google Fiber success has created some unhappy residents in ‘fiberhoods’

by Parks Associates | Oct. 19, 2012

Google redefined community when it announced it would be bringing 1 Gigabit Internet and a new pay-TV service to parts of Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

Its campaign to sign up resident in “fiberhoods” was different than any other ISP before it. Google hosted community events, built an information center that showed how the service could be used, and it supplied neighborhood activists and schools with leaflets and yard signs urging neighbors to pre-register for the service. In return, Google promised that schools, hospitals and some other public buildings in designated “fiberhoods” would receive the ultra-high-speed Internet free.

By the close of Google’s registration drive, where homeowners ponied up $10 to be part of the buildout, some 180 fiberhoods qualified.

Google recently began to release its construction schedule for the fiberhoods. In the process, it has created some angst and animosity between the haves – who will see construction start as early as November – and the have nots – who likely will have to wait a year before they can jump on the ultra-fast Internet and subscribe to the new pay-TV service.

A Kansas City Kansan article, for example, prompted irate comments from some of the residents who will be waiting until next year to get service.

To wit:

This is so wrong. We in Westheight signed up and reached our goal before Piper and we have to wait a full year before we get this. We in Kansas City, KS were to have it before Kansas City, Mo. Do not think for a minute that this is going to go over well here. All of KCK should get it before the KCMO.”

And:

“I was totally bummed when I saw where we were on the list. We hit our quota and then doubled it long before other fiberhoods got even close. Bummer, double bummer.”

As one have-not summed it up:

“Wow, very bad PR there.”

Google this week was bitten by the premature release of its lackluster quarterly earnings. Looks like the company is discovering the devil is, after all, in the details.


Tags: Google, pay TV

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