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Likely pressured by Google Fiber, Time Warner ups speeds, slashes rates

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Specific to the Kansas City area, one consumer’s recent account with Time Warner seems to indicate that the Internet service provider is definitely feeling the heat from the Google Fiber project. Detailed this week on The Consumerist, a current Time Warner Cable customer in the Kansas City area was recently notified that the basic TWC Internet package in the area was being upgraded from 10Mbps download speeds to 15Mbps. In addition, the cost of the basic package dropped from $45 down to $30 a month and that promotional rate is expected to last for nearly two years. Regarding timing, the promotion has been rolled during the Google Fiber launch in various areas around Kansas City.

google-fiber-network-houseBy comparison, the basic package on the Google Fiber network would cost a consumer approximately $25 a month for twelve months and reach download speeds up to 5Mbps. However, the consumer wouldn’t have to pay for Internet service anymore after paying the $25 fee for twelve months or an upfront fee of $300.

The next step up provides significantly increased download speeds, but costs the consumer approximately $70 per month. With the promotional rate, Time Warner has strategically positioned monthly costs to appeal to a customer that wants increased speed, but doesn’t want to pay $70-a-month to get faster download and upload speeds. It also allows Time Warner to compete with the $120 Google Fiber plan when it comes to bundled TV packages. 

According to the Washington Post, telecommunication companies within the Kansas City area have started to bid against Google for contracts to outfit businesses and other buildings with hardware that will provide similar speeds to Google Fiber. When asked about the effectiveness of the Google Fiber platform within the business community, Kansas City assistant city manager Richard Usher stated “This is exactly what we hoped would happen. More home-sprung businesses. More competition. In that way, Google’s project is a success already.”

Google-Fiber-presentationIn an area of Kansas City dubbed part of the Silicon Prairie, Internet entrepreneurs and start-ups are establishing themselves within the area to take advantage of the Google Fiber service. Regarding the attractiveness of the platform to the start-up community, Kauffman Foundation vice president Lesa Mitchell said “What Google is providing is a catalyst. This infrastructure is enormously important to create a ripple effect of entrepreneurial activity.”

Since November 2012, Google has mostly been working on neighborhood installations around Kansas City and are making steady progress. According to the Google Fiber tracking page, Kansas City neighborhoods have been scheduled for installation as early as next month all the way through Fall 2013. Kansas City residents can watch the progress meter of their neighborhood to get an indicator of future availability.

Google is also getting more aggressive with advertising in the Kansas City area. Specifically, Google has paid for local air time during the Super bowl this weekend and will run an advertisement specific to the Kansas City area. The advertisement features a variety of Google applications including Google+ video Hangouts, Gmail, YouTube, Google search and the Google Fiber television service.