Google Fiber: How it helps the community - KCTV5

Google Fiber: How it helps the community and what competitors say

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Google said the benefits of Thursday's announcement will spread out throughout the community to schools and other groups.

Today's schools are bound by hallways, lockers and doors – the here and now limiting a student's experience. But new internet access 100 times faster than what people are used to, could change those possibilities in a heartbeat.

It used to be a teacher's best tool of communication was a piece of chalk. Now, a teacher could be writing on a chalkboard across the world and kids could see it.

"Think about bringing the world to our kids and taking our kids to the world, they'll have access to people that are experts in any content area," Kansas City, KS, Schools Superintendent Cynthia Lane said.

People at Rosedale Middle School in KCK will be working with the Google Fiber technology over the next six weeks, and they tested out the fiber connection Thursday through teleconferences with Google staff.

The school is hoping to be the first in the world to install the equipment permanently for the upcoming school year.

"If the neighborhood gets connected, then the schools will be connected for free," KCK School Chief of Staff David Smith said.

The change could mean connection for kids who are home sick from school and easier access to increase parental involvement.

"Imagine being able to just access directly into the family," Lane said. "We could still have school when the weather's bad outside."

While not every option is guaranteed to be popular, KCK school leaders said it's about putting the power of the future in students' hands.

"Our kids are going to create things and possibilities that, from where we sit right now, aren't on the horizon," Smith said. "We can't see that far ahead."

As Google Fiber starts moving into the metro, an obvious question is what it means for the other internet and cable companies in the city and their customers.

Other internet and cable companies said they have the advantage of a strong customer base, having been in the area first. They also said they are constantly working on new products and already offer some of the services, like tablet remote controls, that Google Fiber people mentioned in Thursday's announcement.

As far as the super high speed internet Google is talking about, people at Time Warner said they always have the ability to adjust their network to keep up with demands from consumers and they believe they'll be competitive cost-wise.

"We compete every single day. Kansas City is an extremely competitive marketplace, and we have great employees, we have great products. We continually invest in both our products and our services, local service here in Kansas City, and we feel we're ready to compete any day, anytime, anywhere with anyone," Mike Pedelty, a Time Warner spokesperson said.

AT&T responded in a written statement Thursday, saying they brought their U-Verse TV, Internet and home phone services to Kansas City in 2007 and:

"…advanced fiber optic technology. In a short period of time, we've expanded availability to more than 400,000 living units in and around Kansas City and we've seen a great response from Kansas City consumers. More customers are making the switch to U-verse as we use our all IP platform to deliver regular upgrades, interactive apps and integrated services that enhance your entertainment experience. The exclusive U-verse Wireless Receiver, which gives you the freedom to put your TV in any room in your home, is just the latest example of the innovative services we're offering Kansas City customers."

AT&T went on to say in their statement that they too are constantly expanding to innovative new ideas to keep up with customer needs.

Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) and Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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