KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) __ More than a month after Kansas City, Kan., announced it would be the first place to get Google’s ultra-fast broadband service, Kansas City, Mo., leaders declared their city the envy of the entire world after the search engine giant said it was expanding the service to their town.

Google announced in March it had picked Kansas City, Kan., as the inaugural site for its “Fiber for Communities” program, which is expected to deliver Internet access 100 times faster than broadband connections offered by telephone and cable companies.  On Tuesday, the company said it had reached a deal with Kansas City, Mo., to run the high-speed fiber optics across the Missouri River and into the city. The first customers are expected to go online sometime in the middle of next year.

“The eyes of the entire world are on this city,” said Cindy Circo, a Kansas City, Mo., councilwoman who led the drive to get Google to come to the city. “Tomorrow, they will be talking about us around the world, around the water coolers in London, pointing to us on maps in Hong Kong. Tomorrow, in a hundred different languages in far off corners of the world, people will be saying, ‘have you heard of Kansas City?’ We were once the capital of the West, songs were written about us and how we were up-to-date. St. Louis even built an arch to let people know how close they were to Kansas City.”

High-tech businesses, hospitals, utilities and schools initially would be the biggest beneficiaries of the network, which would provide rapid transmission of data and high-definition images far beyond what is available now.

As for the value to individuals, one industry analyst said that depends on pricing of the 1 gigabit service, since current available broadband speeds are plenty fast for most applications.

Copyright The Associated Press


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