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Google puts Kansas City home shared by startups at front of Fiber line

A Google contractor (far left) completes one of the final Google Fiber installations steps while members and visitors of the KC Startup Village look on.

A Kansas City, Kan. house shared by three startups will be one of the first to receive Google Fiber in the Kansas City area. 

“We’re working with a small group of pre-selected customers to test out everything before we officially launch to our customer installation program,” Google Fiber spokesperson Jenna Wandres said in a phone interview Wednesday. Among those customers is startup co-founder Matthew Marcus, the owner of a home in Hanover Heights, the first Fiberhood chosen to receive Google’s gigabit internet connection.

Marcus (near right) and his co-founder Adam Arredondo (far right) operate their startup, Local Ruckus, out of the house. Together, they helped start KC Startup Village, a grassroots group that aims to build a physical community of startups. Another house, occupied by Homes for Hackers, and an office, occupied by EyeVerify and Rocket Fuel Partners, are nearby and part of the group.

“What we’re trying to accomplish is getting a number of startups in the same community in the same vicinity,” Marcus said, “to essentially create this dense nature of startups that can result in collisions and idea sharing.”

On Monday, a group huddled around a Google Fiber contractor as he visited Marcus’ house to complete the installation of an NIU (network interface unit), the box connecting the fiber cables to the house. This is one of the final steps before fiber is turned on in the home, which Wandres said will happen “soon.”

Upon discovery of the box – Marcus said he was unaware of its installation date – the group “freaked out,” Marcus said. “All the geeks (were) loving it.”

He captured the moment on his iPhone, later posting it in two parts on YouTube (Part 1, Part 2):

Marcus and Arredondo, along with their five housemates, who are a part of startups Leap2 and FormZapper, are participating in what Wandres calls a final testing phase for the Fiberhood.

“(It’s) designed to get feedback from customers and iron out any last-minute bumps,” Wandres said. “We want to make sure that when we officially launch, we deliver a great installation experience for customers.”

Arredondo said he isn’t entirely sure how Google Fiber’s speed will benefit Local Ruckus, a web-based tool for discovering and sharing local events, or other startups. “The answer is we don’t know,” he said.

Marcus sees promise in the increased download and upload speeds to come. “The nice thing is that you know with a house full of startups – let’s say we have 15 people all working on the internet at one time – there will be no bottleneck,” Marcus said.

With its early access to Fiber, KC Startup Village hopes to attract other startups. On its website, the group provides a list of nearby homes for sale and offers assistance to individuals looking to operate a startup out of a property zoned for residential use.

“If there are any startups outside of Kansas City that would like to move to Kansas City, check out the (KC Startup Village) and join us,” Marcus said.

With the arrival date of Google Fiber’s offering for businesses still unknown, that could be an attractive offer.

Marcus’ house, the first among the KC Startup Village, is located on the Kansas side of State Line Road.

Dallas next? Not so fast.

In the video above, the Google Fiber contractor says he thinks “Google is going to Dallas next.” To which Marcus replies, “Oh they chose already?” The contractor answers, “Ah, maybe.”

During this scene, a note appears onscreen:

NOTE: The comment about Google Fiber expanding into Dallas is hearsay. Speaking with a reliable Google Fiber source, Google has NOT chosen the cities or the order for which they will expand their fiber service.

Wandres confirmed this note. “We are fully focused on Kansas City right now, and we haven’t made any decisions about where Google Fiber is going next,” she said, noting that Google still has 89 percent of its Kansas City Fiberhoods to build out. “Then we’re also going to build in North Kansas City, Mo. and south Kansas City, Mo.”


Credits: Photos of Marcus and Arredondo courtesy of Local Ruckus. Photos of Marcus’ house from kcstartupvillage.org.

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