Kansas City residents embrace Google Fiber, says study

Internet search giant Google is making significant inroads among residents in the Kansas City metropolitan area with its fiber-optic broadband network as 30 percent of potential subscribers have already paid a $10 pre-registration fee for the service, according to a new study.

The research, "Google Fiber Matters: Consumer Demand Study," conducted by Ideas & Solutions!, also reveals that another 30 percent of the qualified population in the area have expressed interest in Google’s new offering.

"Google Fiber has conducted a remarkable marketing campaign," said Ideas & Solutions! president Glen Friedman. "Historically, pay TV over-builders penetrate about one-third of their marketplace over time. This level of interest in the beginning is unprecedented. For Google Fiber, the challenge moving forward is to do an equally good job on the fulfillment."

To promote the new service, Google employed a variety of measured marketing tactics in Kansas City beyond the usual advertising and news coverage. Those efforts paid off with a positive perception among subscriber prospects, according to the study.

The research measured 11 brand attributes comparing Google with the incumbent pay TV operators in the Kansas City “fiberhoods,” those areas where Google will be offering its new service. Survey results showed Google Fiber surpassing the incumbents across all 11 attributes. Even its weakest brand attribute — consumer privacy protection — scored higher than that of the pay TV operators, collectively.

Nearly 60 percent of respondents trusted Google with their privacy, while only about 40 percent trusted their pay TV operators. This, despite the fact that parent company Google has had to defend itself in the past on privacy issues.

In other brand comparisons, Google Fiber whipped the competition. When asked about new largely IP-based TV applications on devices, about 88 percent of respondents selected Google Fiber as the better provider, compared to 12 percent who favored the incumbent. In terms of cloud-based services, 90 percent of respondents picked Google, compared to 10 percent for the existing pay TV operators.

One specific area measured where the existing pay TV operators have some advantage is with video. A key reason for consumers not making the switch to Google Fiber is concern they won't receive all their favorite channels. Of the survey respondents who have paid the pre-registration fee, 40 percent intend to get broadband services from Google Fiber but take pay TV services from another company.