Google Fiber to launch next week

Google (s goog) just sent out invitations to a “special event” in Kansas City on July 26 which is undoubtedly the launch of its much-anticipated fiber-to-the-home network. The search giant sent an invite Tuesday that reads, “We would like to invite you to a special announcement about Google Fiber and the next chapter of the Internet.”
The timing jibes with the Google’s statements about a planned summer launch and sources who told me the network would launch at the end of next week. Google announced plans to build the gigabit network back in February of 2010 and thousands of municipalities competed to be the future home of the planned network. In March, it selected Kanas City as the first location for Google Fiber.
Google said it wanted to build out the network so it could see what people might do with a full gigabit connection, but I also think this is Google’s answer to the ISP’s continued whining about how much networks cost to operate and how providers like Google or Netflix (s nflx) should pay them for delivering traffic across the ISP’s networks.
Soon, Google will have real data on what it costs to build and operate a wireline network — and in typical Google fashion I expect we’ll hear about how it has driven those costs down by building or adapting gear in a way traditional ISPs haven’t. Hopefully at the event we’ll also learn more on what Google plans to charge for access to the network as well as if it plans to share it with other ISPs.
And clearly ISPs are worried. Just last week, we reported that Time Warner Cable — a Kansas City ISP — had placed posters around its headquarters asking employees to provide any information they hear about Google fiber. I wonder if anyone there got an invite to the Google event.