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East Families Use New Internet Services

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When junior Lily Flint found out her family was getting Google Fiber, the newest, best and most high-technology cable and internet service available, she was filled with curiosity and excitement. After it was installed about halfway through this past summer, she couldn’t wait to try out the new Netflix and YouTube features.

However, her family had a rough start with Google Fiber. It contained several glitches and often ran slow. It was time for another high-speed company to come to KC.

AT&T recently announced that its new GigaPower high-speed cable television and internet service is now available to residents of Mission Hills, Fairway and Prairie Village. Kansas City happens to also be the first city where Google launched its similar Google Fiber service. Google Fiber and GigaPower are now in a battle to win over the cable and internet market of Kansas City.

Like Google Fiber, the GigaPower service will offer download speeds with a peak of 1 Gbps (gigabytes per second), meaning it can download 25 songs in less than one second and HD movies in less than 36 seconds. It costs $70 per month for regular Internet, just as Google Fiber does. For $120 per month, GigaPower includes the standard 1 Gbps Internet service as well as a TV package that includes free HBO, HBO GO and HD service for 36 months.

Erin Flint, Lily’s mother, confirms that Google Fiber has a significantly lower price than Time Warner Cable, the family’s previous provider.

“The only drawback to Google Fiber is that there is no AMC channel,” said Erin. “It is a bummer for Mad Men and The Walking Dead.”

GigaPower’s landline services include access to voicemail, call history and click-to-call from any qualified device, even televisions or computers. The landline phones come with over 20 calling features, including Caller ID, Call Waiting, Three-Way Calling. Advanced features like Do Not Disturb, Locate Me, and AT&T U-verse® Voicemail are also a part of the service.

Despite announcing its high-speed technologies long after Google Fiber was announced, AT&T is jumpstarting GigaPower in several specific Northeastern Johnson County neighborhoods before they are reached by Google.

GigaPower also recently became available in Lenexa, Olathe, Overland Park and Leawood. According to Prairie Village Post, AT&T told the Roeland Park City Council in June that it will be building out the high-speed network in Roland Park over the next two years.

According to Ars Technica, a technology news and information website, there is a catch with this new high speed service. Unless customers want AT&T to be able to track everything they do and sell their records to advertisers, there will be an additional $29 fee per month. Customers must pay to opt out of this Internet Preference program. AT&T may collect and use web browsing information for other purposes, as described in its Privacy Policy, even if customers do not participate in the Internet Preferences program.

Google’s Fiber service has had sign-up periods in Westwood, Westwood Hills, Mission Woods, Roeland Park and Merriam so far. Westwood was the first neighborhood in Johnson County to have access to Google Fiber. Sign up periods for other parts of northeast Johnson County are expected in 2016, according to Google Fiber’s website.

Erin believes Fiber was worth the wait. She was happy to get away from Time Warner Cable.

“I believe they announced they were coming to KC two years ago,” Erin said. “We knew Westwood would be one of the first cities, but it took a long time.”

Once she got past the occasional glitches, Flint learned to love Google Fiber. From the convenience of YouTube and Netflix, to the boxes for every TV in the house, Flint is very glad her family purchased this technology.

“I think it’s good to have competition between these two companies because it causes them both to constantly improve and come out with new features to try and one-up the other,” Flint said. “It will keeps things interesting.”

Work and additionsn by both companies is expected to continue throughout 2015 and into 2016 without interruption.

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Chloe Stanford

Senior, Print Feature Section Editor Chloe spends way too much of her time either eating or swimming. She works at Fairway pool during the summers. Chloe loves animals and has to save every bug that’s in danger. Her favorite thing is her dog, Charles, who is an adorable but really annoying corgi. Read Full »

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