Google's special treatment in Kansas City has caught the attention of its competitors.
According to The Wall Street Journal, which obtained a copy of agreements on file with the city government, Google was offered everything from free office space to a team of government employees "dedicated" to the development of its Gigabit Internet service. In addition, the company is able to use all city "assets and infrastructure -- including fiber, buildings, land, and computer tools" for free, the Journal has learned.
Although the deal was great for Google, it has become an issue for competitors Time Warner Cable and AT&T. And according to the Journal, both companies have gone to Kansas City officials, asking them for a "parity agreement" with all of the same concessions.
In an interview with the Journal, Alex Dudley of Time Warner Cable said that his company is simply after "an even playing field."
Google has made waves with its impending launch of a 1-gigabit-per-second Internet service across Kansas City neighborhoods in both Kansas and Missouri. Last month, Google announced that 90 percent of the eligible neighborhoods that could hook up to its fiber had signed on.
The search giant opened its preregistration over the summer. The Gigabit service will cost customers $70 per month, with the speeds offered on both downloads and uploads. Google is also offering 1 terabyte of data store and a network box to deliver the service.
Back in July, when Google launched its preregistration, the company also announced a Fiber TV service that offers customers a variety of channels, as well as a DVR that will allow them to search for services on Netflix and record up to eight shows at once.
Since bringing fiber to homes can be expensive, Google is charging each home that hopes to hook up to the service a one-time $300 construction fee.
The prospect of having Gigabit service across Kansas City was simply too appealing for officials to pass up, the Journal's sources say. That resulted in Google receiving surprisingly one-sided deals, including a nearly 50 percent discount on the fees companies typically pay for hooking their lines to city poles.
According to the Journal, Time Warner Cable has already inked a "parity" deal with Kansas City, Mo., but has yet to do the same with Kansas City, Kan. The Journal's sources claim Time Warner Cable and AT&T are being asked by the cities to improve their service and deliver other enhancements before they get the deal.