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Google to offer Kansas City ultra-fast Internet for $70 a month

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Google Inc. disclosed Thursday what it will charge for its long-awaited, ultrafast Internet service in Kansas City: $70 per month.

The service is intended as a showcase for what’s technically possible and as a testbed for the development of new ways to use the Internet. Bypassing the local cable and phone companies, Google has spent months and an undisclosed amount of money pulling its own optical fiber through the two-state Kansas City region.

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After vetting many contenders, Google said last year that the Kansas City metro area would be the first to get its ‘‘Fiber for Communities’’ broadband service.

Some cities had used gimmicks to get the company’s attention. Topeka informally renamed itself ‘‘Google, Kansas.’’ A group in Baltimore launched a website that used Google’s mapping service 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 $70 fee will pay for ‘‘gigabit’’ Internet service, about 100 times faster than a basic cable modem. For another $50 per month, Google will provide cable-TV-like service over the fiber, too, and a tablet computer that works as a remote.

The channel line-up includes Nickelodeon, Discovery, Bravo, Starz, and Showtime but is missing AMC, HBO, CNN, Fox News, and ESPN. Google spokeswoman Jenna Wandres would not say why the channels were missing, but said the line-up would expand.

Google said it will only start hooking up households in neighborhoods where a sufficient number of people want service. Kansas City residents have six weeks to preregister for service, after which Google will decide which areas have enough interest. Google will also offer a slower Net option, at a DSL-like 5 megabits per second, with no monthly fee to households that pay a $300 installation fee. The service is guaranteed for at least seven years, but is available only in neighborhoods where enough people have preregistered.

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