Google Fiber Starts To Get Down To Business

Google Fiber is poised to encroach a bit deeper into the turf of Time Warner Cable and AT&T in the Kansas City area as the ISP/pay-TV provider prepares to introduce  commercial-class services to area businesses.

According to a mailer obtained by the Kansas City Business Journal, Google Fiber is asking small businesses in the region if they want to be among the first to get the company’s business-focused 1-Gig offering, which will cost $100 per month. That’s a $30 premium on Google Fiber’s stand-alone residential 1-Gig service, which runs $70 per month (it’s residential broadband/pay-TV bundles start at $120 per month).

Google Fiber hasn’t announced when it will launch business services in the area or which fiberhoods will initially offer access to the new offering, but a spokeswoman told the paper that “[a]fter our pilot earlier this year, we’re closer than ever to bringing Google Fiber to small businesses in Kansas City.”

That will once again pit Google Fiber against AT&T and TWC.  TWC, which has relied on business services as a key growth engine, initially tailored those offerings to smaller businesses, but have since moved upmarket by serving mid-sized businesses with Metro Ethernet-powered services.

While Google Fiber isn’t identifying which areas of Kansas City will get fiber first, some likely candidates include portions of the region that are already connected, a group that includes Central Kansas City (Mo.) and Kansas City, Kan. Several other areas, including Central and Northeast Johnson County (Kan.); Northeast Kansas City (Mo.); and South Kansas City (Mo.) are currently under construction.

Google Fiber also offers service in Provo, Utah; and has construction underway in Austin, Texas. Google Fiber is also exploring whether to expand to as many as 34 cities, and is expected to announce its picks before the end of 2014.

Update: Google Fiber announced its new business-focused efforts on Tuesday.

In this blog post, Carlos Casas, Google Fiber’s Kansas City Field Team Manager, announced an “Early Access Program” for small businesses in select areas of central Kansas City, including a “handful” of fiberhoods in Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo.

“Though not all areas of central Kansas City can sign up just yet, we’ll keep you updated as we expand. Small businesses can visit our website for more information, register for email updates, and be the first to know when they can sign up,” he wrote.

While acknowledging that “small businesses play a big part in Provo and Austin, too,” he said Google Fiber had nothing to announce with respect to business services plans in those cities.