Google Fiber: Speed, Accessibility, Great Marketing

Ben Lee

Ben Lee

CEO and Co-founder of Neon Roots

Ben Lee is the co-founder and CEO of Neon Roots, a digital development agency with a mission to destroy the development model and rebuild it from the ground up. After a brief correspondence with Fidel Castro at age nine, Ben decided to start doing things his own way, going from busboy to club manager at a world-class nightclub before he turned 18. Since then, Ben has founded or taken a leading role in 5 businesses in everything from software development to food and entertainment.

Previously known for its barbeque and blues scene, dual state-occupying Kansas City is about to add a new item to its legacy list: Google Fiber. Amidst literally hundreds of bustling metropolises all over the United States, Google choose almost the direct center of the country to serve as the testing ground for its new lightning fast Internet service. Home installations began last week across greater Kansas City in neighborhoods that were able to generate a critical mass of pre-registrations—areas now dubbed “Fiberhoods.”

Google Fiber, whose fiber-optic cables have been strategically laid through the Fiberhoods of KC, promises literally blazing fast, gigabit-per-second Internet service at speeds around 100 times the national average. Granted, this “national average” is probably slower than most of us are used to, it doesn’t take away from the fact that Google Fiber is freaking fast.

Google’s offering three service options, Internet plus TV (which comes with a fancy Nexus tablet as a remote) for 120$ a month, just Internet for 70$, and the most interesting option: free Internet for those willing to put up with an average performance speed—after a one-time construction fee.

Installations kicked off last week, where Google promised that service workers would not only clean up after installation (all installers carry a vacuum), but they’d also show up on time. As in an actual time, not “sometime between 9am and 2pm.” Google says that user satisfaction comes down to the “details that matter,” and in an age where cable companies have let customer service fall to abysmal levels, the details were welcomed with open arms by KC denizens.

As with every successful product rollout from Google, the marketing campaign is spectacular. Some of the inspirational promo videos bring viewers to the brink of tears (I include myself in that category) as Google reps speak of wider accessibility for schools, churches, and low-income neighborhoods. And even if none of it is true, it’s still an amazingly good marketing ploy on behalf of Google. Also, Google has primarily relied on locals to run the operation, which has both made Google look like a hero and helped gain popular support.

After perusing the official Google Fiber blog, being captivated by their marketing videos, and reading up on their stats, for the first time in my life, I’ve thought: I kind of wish I were in Kansas City.

Here’s one of the initial product rollout videos. Personally, I’m a big fan of the soundtrack:

Creative Commons Google Fiber” by pasa is licensed under CC BY 2.0