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Google Fiber to Fight Comcast in Olathe, Kan.

KC Suburb Approves Franchise Agreement with Internet Giant 3/20/2013 7:03 AM Eastern

Google Fiber has targeted another city in the Kansas City area -- Olathe, Kan., where the Internet giant has received approval to roll out its fiber-to-the-home network touting up to 1 Gigabit per second of bandwidth and a next-gen IPTV service.

While the city represents an expansion of Google’s original deployment map, it still isn’t clear whether the company intends to broaden the fiber project -- which it has previously described as experimental -- to other regions.

Comcast is the incumbent cable provider in Olathe (pronounced “oh-LAY-tha”); the MSO did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The city had an estimated population of 127,907 in 2011, according to the U.S. Census.

The Olathe City Council on Tuesday evening approved an agreement with Google to bring Google Fiber to the city. The city will receive a 5% franchise fee on gross receipts generated by Google from deployment of its network in Olathe.

“Olathe has become one of the fastest-growing cities in Kansas and has attracted an influx of new businesses and residents,” Google Fiber community manager Rachel Hack wrote in a blog post. “We think that Fiber and widespread Internet access will help to create jobs, grow local businesses, and make Olathe even stronger as it grows.”

Google didn’t disclose when it plans to begin offering service in Olathe. “We still have a lot of planning and engineering work to do before we’re ready to bring Fiber to Olathe,” Hack wrote. She added that the announcement doesn’t change its published construction schedule for eligible homes in Kansas City, Kan., and Central Kansas City, Mo.

To date, Google Fiber has begun activating customers only in two KC neighboorhoods, Hanover Heights and Dub’s Dread, Kan., with other communities scheduled to go live in March 2013, according to the company's website.

Across the Kansas City area, Time Warner Cable has an overlap with Google Fiber of about 100,000 TV and 100,000 broadband customers, the MSO has said. TWC executives have downplayed the threat, but the MSO has responded to Google Fiber by boosting up broadband speeds and hiring additional customer service reps in the past year.

On Google's fourth quarter earnings call in January, CFO Patrick Pichette insisted that the FTTH project was not a "hobby."

"We are going to continue to look at the possibility of expanding, but right now... We just got to nail Kansas City,” Pichette said.

September