Google Fiber opens to small businesses in Kansas City area

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Google Fiber has been expanded to small businesses in a handful of neighborhoods in Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo. The move marks the first time the 1 Gbps service has been officially available to business users anywhere.

Google posted maps of the neighborhoods that will include the small business service on a blog Tuesday. When Google first rolled out Google Fiber in the two neighboring cities in 2012, it was intended for individuals and families, which also included home-based businesses.

Businesses of all sizes in the Kansas City area have expressed an interest in fast Web connections of the kind that Google Fiber provides. In the blog, Carlos Casas, a Google Kansas City field team manager, wrote, "From the start, small business owners have told us they want GoogleFiber to help them move faster, work better together, reach new parts of the world without boarding a plane, and save time for the important things -- like growing their business."

Casas said Google heard from "documentary filmmakers, flower shops, Web development agencies" and others that were interested in Google Fiber access.

In Provo, Utah, and Austin, Texas, where Google Fiber is being deployed, small businesses have also sought access to Google Fiber, but Google said it didn't have specific plans for business access in those cities.

Google doesn't have plans to offer Google Fiber to large businesses, a Google spokeswoman said Wednesday. However, officials in both Kansas Citys have been curious how Google's network can be used for a variety of public and private data network needs of various sizes throughout the area.

Kansas City, Mo., is in the midst of building a two-mile streetcar line along Main Street in its downtown area that will serve as a backbone for neighborhoods serving several tech startups and incubators.

As part of its smart cities initiative in Kansas City, Mo., networking giant Cisco Systems also plans to implement a variety of wireless and sensor technologies in city neighborhoods along the streetcar line.

Isaiah Blackburn, Cisco's chief strategist for the Connected KC project, recently said Cisco won't rely on connecting its network to Google Fiber optic cable for its wireless backhaul needs and instead will rely on fiber optic cable operated by the city itself.

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