We've known about Google's plans to deploy a high-speed fiber network in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri for a while now. But a Wall Street Journal report is indicating that when the network arrives in early 2012, it may come with an added surprise: a paid Google pay-TV service designed to compete with cable and satellite providers.
The WSJ story in question cites as its source the extremely ambiguous "people briefed on [Google's] plans." But if it's true, it seems that Google has been courting deals to carry television channels owned by major players like Disney, Time Warner and Discovery - thought no final deals have been reached and it's still in an exploratory phase.
As expected, none of the parties involved have opted to comment on what's still only rumor and speculation. But this would make a certain degree of sense given Google's overall video strategy. Google continues pushing the Google TV software despite a lukewarm initial reception, while continuing to partner with the major networks for commercial-supported content on YouTube.
Basically, Google is in a prime place to start offering a cheaper, online video-driven competitor to Time Warner Cable, Dish Network and DirecTV, the Kansas City area's main choices when it comes to premium television. It has the software platform and the means of delivering key content, and soon Google Fiber will mean there's going to be more than sufficient bandwidth in every home.
But just because it could doesn't mean that it will. And until Google issues any kind of official statement, I'm going to have to remain skeptical. But in the meanwhile, I have to ask: would you go with Google for your cable TV?