Google Fiber Coming to Shawnee

Shawnee, a town outside of Kansas City, will be getting Google Fiber and its 1 Gbps and IPTV packages, setting up more competition with primary wireline incumbents AT&T and Time Warner Cable.

The Shawnee City Council voted unanimously  to bring Google Fiber on Thursday evening (May 2). Google Fiber is already starting to build its network and deliver services in Kansas City, Kan.; and Kansas City, Mo.; and has received similar approval to do the same in Olathe, Kan., where it will tangle with Comcast.

Google Fiber and Shawnee haven’t pinpointed a construction and service timeline. “We still have a lot of planning and engineering work to do before we’re ready to bring Fiber to Shawnee, so we don’t have an estimate for when service will be available yet," Google Fiber community manager Rachel Hack explained in a blog post announcing Shawnee’s approval. Google Fiber has already set up a Web site to track its progress in Shawnee.

If Google Fiber follows the blueprint established in the Kansas Cities, expect it to hold a “Fiber Rally” that calls on consumers in identified “ Fiberhoods” (areas comprised of 250 to 1,500 households) to pre-register and establish enough demand for Google Fiber to justify the deployment to those target areas.

"The ultra-high speed Google fiber network will enhance the quality of life for people in Shawnee by providing faster access to essential digital resources,” said Shawnee Mayor Jeff Meyers, in a statement posted on the community’s Web site. “This will grow and strengthen Shawnee’s competitive advantage in the years to come.”

The county of Shawnee has a population of 178,991 and 79,330 housing units, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Shawnee's the latest city to embrace Google Fiber in recent weeks. Google Fiber also has plans to build its 1 Gig network in Austin, Texas. Last month, it struck a deal to take over and upgrade the iProvo fiber network in Provo, Utah. 

On last week’s first quarter earnings call, TW Cable chairman and CEO Glenn Britt downplayed the threat of Google Fiber, noting that the MSO has been dealing with this kind of competition for years. “What they’re doing is now any different than an overbuilder,” Britt said. “And we’ve had overbuilders for the last several decades in the business.”

Google Fiber is currently in front of about 4,000 homes in Kansas City (2,000 of which are TWC customers), and so far, defections to the newcomer are “de minimus,” added TWC chief operating officer Rob Marcus.