Google's gig-per-second broadband in Kansas could change data speeds around the USA

From MIT Technology Review: "Google’s effort to install a blazingly fast, gigabit-per-second fiber Internet service in the two-state metropolis of Kansas City—a speed 100 times faster than the national average—is a radical new business direction for the company, and perhaps provides an unorthodox model for how to rewire parts of the United States." And an interesting data point: did you know the US ranks 24th worldwide in broadband speed, with Americans downloading at an average of only 11.6MBPS? (via @bruces)


  1. “Americans downloading at an average of only 11.6MBPS”

    Sigh. No.

    From the article: “the United States ranks 24th worldwide in speed, with consumers receiving an average of 11.6-megabits-per-second download speeds”

    Megabytes != megabits. 11.6Mbps.

    1.  Ha!  Came in here to say the exact same thing.  If I was downloading at 11.6 megabytes/ second, Astraweb wouldn’t know what hit ’em!

    2. it might be the lack of camel-case that is the problem here.   without any lowercase trailing characters, @Xeni:disqus  Jarden might have meant Mbps.
      11.6 Mbps == 1.45 MBps (8 bits per byte)

    3. Personally, I love that the telecomms still use megabits/sec when talking about bandwidth, since no non-tech-oriented consumer even knows there is a difference between bits and bytes, let alone what it is. And even for those of us that do know, abstracting advertised speeds by a factor of 8 is enough to stop our brains from settling on the actual numbers involved.

      1.  the f-ck of it is if they were to be honest no one would buy their product. Why shell out 50$ for only 5MBps when you can get 10mbps for only $45

    4. So what cool things are people doing with all this bandwidth?  (I don’t count “watching television” as “a cool thing”, even though it burns a lot of bandwidth.)  I’ve currently got 3 Mbps DSL, and can load multiple streams of YouTube at once or real-time TV on the web, and there’s cable TV if I want to get television.   And yes, a cable modem would be faster, and I’m not actually doing anything interesting with my static IP addresses right now, but I don’t see the benefit. 

  2. Tiny east Bay Area city San Leandro has a similar project but with no Google intermediary. Currently offering a 10Gbps (yes, that’s bits per sec) fiber optic loop for the un- and under-served business side of town, this town seeks to connect fast Internet with advanced industrial and manufacturing interests. Of course Boing Boing readers of the maker varieties wouldn’t know anything about that, would they?

  3. Well, as a French internet user who spends a few weeks a year in the mid west USA…When I’m in Toledo,  I always end up wringing my hands in frustration asking “How can you people live like this?” I live in an extremely rural location in France and  have extremely cheap and reliable high Speed service….doesn’t everyone?

    1.  The lack of same is one of the things that makes me very negative about software that requires always-on internet to operate despite not having any communications element, and cloud-based anything. So sorry, the cloud may not crash and eat my data, but having my connection go “voop” happens far more frequently than hardware failure :P

      1. Yes Jerril, I understand, but that has nothing to do with my comment. I was merely stating that I get very reliable, inexpensive, high speed internet service here in rural France. The system is constantly being upgraded. My television, phone and internet subscription is around 40 Euros a month. So I get the equivalent of cable TV, DSL and phone for about 40 Euros…I guess with todays exchange rate that woud come to about 51.23 US Dollars. 

        1.  That’s about $167 a month from cox if you want high def channels and a TIVO recorder, and that doesn’t include phone.

        2. But you have to remember that France is only slightly larger than California with a denser population. Rural France is in no way comparable to rural U.S.

          That is not to excuse our poor speeds in urban areas, which I would agree are abysmal compared with the rest of the world. I would put that down to an aging infrastructure and a current political climate that favors private monopolies over nationalized services.

          1. well, that’s not a very good excuse now, is it? France is smaller than say, Texas…I guess…but that’s not really relevant to any reality I can think of.

          2. The point was the “rural” France is not all that rural as compared to say “rural” anything-west-of-the-Mississippi. Drive from St. Louis to Denver, see how many people are there and what their density is and remind me that it is not relevant to any reality.

          3. In rural France you probably don’t need to drive more than 1 hour to get to the closest McDonalds. In rural Texas you can drive for over an hour and not see a single house.

            Population density is directly related to the cost of wiring. There are large portions of the U.S. that do not even have cell phone coverage. We had to implement large government subsidies back in the 1950’s just to get telephone service to most people.

  4. Chattanooga Tennessee did this several years ago with the local power utility taking the lead. The city’s old nickname was “River City” now days it’s become “Gig City”. Also, the revenue from cable/phone/internet has helped to offset energy costs.

    It also played a role in attracting VW to build a huge new complex along with an Amazon distribution center.

    The move to provide high speed fiber (up to a gig at each drop) attracted lots of attention from the technology sector and continues to draw interest from technology based companies.

    No, I’m not a paid shill for EPB or the city, just very excited to see a city continue to reinvent itself and not stay still. BTW, the city has also been placed on several “best of” lists for outdoor recreation, innovation, livability, etc. Pretty good progress for a city who Walter Cronkite tagged “the most polluted city in america” over thirty years ago.

  5. “The question also is whether there will be a consumer demand and need for such speeds.”
    … is a quote from Bill Kula, a Verizon spokesman.  This person is either ignorant or being willfully obtuse.  Either way it doesn’t generate trust being that Verizon is, in general, a supplier of information.

    1. Funny, at the same time the companies whine about “heavy users” they say there is no market for these services.

      Just remember, the world will never need DSL in people’s homes. Who needs that much internet?

  6. I live in a rural area and pay 44 bucks a month for 1.7mps DSL. The techs say Century Tel could up the speed..but won’t. The infrastructure is there for faster (how fast? Likely still well under 20, which is what the folks in ‘town’ get). Step out of the cities and travel around a bit though…America is a lot larger in person than what most people seem to realize..

    1. Well, I know America very well as having lived there for 50 years…I lived for 25 years in Manhattan and I still have cheaper and  better internet service here than I still would have in Manhattan. But then we are going around in circles here, so, a bientot, tout le monde!

      1. Ser microdot,

        I congratulate you on your youthful appearance and commenting style. Based on your comments here I had assumed you were 19 or 23 or something.  

  7. You know that feeling you get when someone complains about something they have, when that something is far better than what you yourself have?

    I pay $95/month for 200-300 kbps, 10 minutes outside a city of 30,000 people in BC (Canada). 11.6 mbps would be a dream come true.

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