Search engine giant Google Inc. is making Kansas City, Kan., the first place to get its new ultra-fast broadband network, the company announced Wednesday.
Google announced on its official blog that the city would be the inaugural site for its "Fiber for Communities" program. The company says the network would be capable of making Internet access more than 100 times faster than the broadband connection in most U.S. homes.
The service will be offered beginning in 2012, while Google looks at other communities across the country.
More than 1,100 cities had made bids to become a test site for the company's fiber-optic network, which would provide Internet connections of 1 gigabit per second to as many as 500,000 people.
"In selecting a city, our goal was to find a location where we could build efficiently, make an impact on the community and develop relationships with local government and community organizations," Milo Medin, Google's vice president of access services, wrote in a post on Google's official blog. "We've found this in Kansas City."
Nearby Topeka had informally renamed itself "Google, Kansas," during March 2010 as it competed for Google's experimental network. A group in Baltimore launched a website that used Google mapping to plot the location of more than 1,000 residents and give their reasons for wanting the service. Hundreds of groups on Facebook implored Google to come to their cities.
The company had set a March 26 deadline for city governments and citizens to express interest.
Google has said it's not interested in dominating or even grabbing a sizable chunk of the broadband market. Instead, it says it hopes phone and cable companies will learn lessons from the experimental network that will help them hurry the rollout of their own faster systems. It also hopes to provide a testbed for online video and other advanced applications that require a lot of bandwidth.