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Kansas OKs Google's Internet-Based TV Service

The state of Kansas has approved Google's application to provide an internet-based home TV service on its 1 GB/s Google Fiber network in Kansas City, Kan. The application was approved by the Kansas Corporation Commission on Friday, and follows a similar approval by the Missouri Public Service Commission on March 1 for Kansas City, Mo.

In the Kansas application, Google reportedly said it will "utilize national and regional video headend facilities (programming collection points) to send IPTV (internet-based television) across a private (internet protocol) network to subscribers." National content may include the likes of Disney, Time Warner and Discovery.

"Google Fiber has represented that it is currently capable of providing video programming to all households within the requested service area," the KCC wrote in a Friday order.

A Google spokesperson indicated to the Kansas City Business Journal that the approvals don't mean the company plans to take on the local cable company, but that the video franchise licenses will be in place in case Google does decide to offer such a service. Currently the company is still "exploring offerings" for the high-speed network's upcoming launch in at least one unspecified neighborhood sometime early this summer.

But even if/when Google does plan to launch an Internet-based TV service, the company may have to somehow get over the FCC hurdle. Both states require video service applicants to file identification information with the FCC. However, Google's Fiber network isn't a cable operator under the FCC's definition. The Kansas commission's order even reports that Google hasn't filed identification information.

Google's data center in Council Bluffs may eventually become one giant DVR for those Kansas City residents subscribing to Google's rumored TV service. The search engine giant is supposedly working to create a Cloud TV service, replacing DVRs and TiVo set top boxes. Google Fiber can make this happen, as its 1 GB/s speed will make retrieving all that stored video manageable as multiple televisions in hundreds of homes within a single neighborhood stream all that video at the same time.

Google originally applied for franchises to offer video services in Kansas City, Kan. and Kansas City, Mo. back in February right after the company began stringing lines for its 1 GB/s network in those two cities. Local opponents reportedly have 15 days to ask the commission to reconsider its decision regarding a video service by filing a petition.