Google Launches Fiber for Small Businesses in Kansas City
Some small businesses in Kansas City will soon get the chance to sign up for Google’s new fiber optic Internet service. The search giant announced Tuesday that it will be launching an Early Access program for businesses for its fiber service. The program will be available to businesses in select neighborhoods in Kansas City, Mo. and Kansas City, Kans.
“Whether a business uses their connection to move to the cloud, get closer to customers on Hangouts, or bring more transactions online, we’re excited to see what happens when Kansas City businesses say farewell to slow speeds and hello to all the tools and technologies that they need to grow,” Google said in a blog post announcing the program.
Google is promising speeds of up to one gigabit per second (download speeds of 1,000 Mbps) to small businesses in the Early Access Program service areas for $100 a month. It is also waiving a construction fee that it typically charges for residential customers. Although not all of Kansas City will be eligible for the program, the company said it is planning to gradually expand the service within the city.
The choice of location for the debut of this enterprise service makes sense. Kansas City, Mo. was also the site of Google’s first pilot program for its consumer fiber optic service in 2012. The company later added Austin, Texas and Provo, Utah to the pilot program the following year, although it said there are currently no plans to roll out the small business program to those cities. It does plan to eventually bring the service to other cities, but has declined to indicate where or when.
Google Fiber for Small Business will also include dedicated support for clients through e-mail, phone and chat and, unlike the consumer version of Google Fiber, will not require a long-term commitment. The company will also provide each client with a Wi-Fi networking box and firewall protection.
Coming by Year-End
Each small business customer can also purchase a single static IP address for an additional $20 a month, or five IP addresses for $30. Customers will be able to use their own Internet routers, and the IP addresses will make it easier for businesses to run their own dedicated servers or give employees remote access to their systems.
The company said that small businesses have been asking about an enterprise version of the service ever since the residential service debuted. Google said it would not limit access to the program based on a company’s size or industry.
Sign up for the new service began Tuesday, with Google saying that it hopes to begin providing service before the end of 2014, depending on how fast it is able to build the network.
The company has said it will continue to expand Google Fiber across the country, with plans in place to launch service in an additional 34 cities.