No Broadband for You, You, or You: Kansas City wins Google Fibre

No Broadband for You, You, or You: Kansas City wins Google Fibre

Summary: Good for Kansas City that Google will be giving the city's citizens, but will other towns even get a chance for affordable Internet broadband deals like this in the future?

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Really, I’m not too jealous that Google has awarded Kansas City, Kansas a gigabit Internet to call its own. I mean it’s not as if my own home town, Asheville, NC, wasn’t more deserving of inexpensive broadband... although we were. Seriously, though, I’m sure Kansas City was worthy and, with more than 1,100 cities in the running, someone had to win and everyone else had to lose, and after Kansas’ exit from the NCAA basketball tournament, the JayHawks needed some good news. But, what about all those other cities that don’t have serious broadband?

You see, it’s not just Asheville or Kansas City that needs serious broadband we all do. In Google’s announcement, it states that Google has “signed a development agreement with the city, and we’ll be working closely with local organizations, businesses and universities to bring a next-generation web experience to the community.”

Google’s “goal was to find a location where we could build efficiently, make an impact on the community and develop relationships with local government and community organizations. We’ve found this in Kansas City. We’ll be working closely with local organisations including the Kauffman Foundation, KCNext and the University of Kansas Medical Center to help develop the gigabit applications of the future.”

Finally, “Pending approval from the city’s Board of Commissioners, we plan to offer service beginning in 2012. We’ll also be looking closely at ways to bring ultra high-speed Internet to other cities across the country.”

Sounds grand doesn’t it? I especially like that line about bringing ultra high-speed Internet to other cities. It’s just too bad that if the NC state government, and other state governments, have their way, neither Google, not anyone else, will be able to partner up with cities and towns to bring in high-speed Internet.

You see in NC, a bill called the  "Level Playing Field/Local Gov't Competition" (PDF Link) act has just passed the house. It says it's intended to "protect jobs and investment by regulating local government competition." It’s really the cable industry's attempting to put roadblocks in the way of Google and other companies joining forces with local governments to provide affordable broadband Internet to a city or town’s citizens.

If the cable industry has its way, these public-private partnerships (PPP), such as the one Google just formed with Kansas City, will be forbidden.  I’m not anti-capitalist or pro-government getting its hands into the Internet business. I just know that in practice, ISPs are really reluctant to upgrade their infrastructure to small cities and towns. ISPs often make big broadband promises, but they seldom deliver on their promises.

For all too many places, the only way we’ll ever see affordable broadband is by PPPs. If the cable industry gets its way, we won’t even have the option of a Google coming in and joining up with our local government to provide true high-speed Internet. So, once more, congratulations to Kansas City, I just wonder how many of the rest of us, if any, will ever get to see affordable broadband from similar partnerships.

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Topics: Broadband, Google, Networking, Telcos

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9 comments
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  • This will be great for the people of KS and the advancement of hight speed

    Internet in general. When other cities see the economic benefits it will clear the way for other cities and states to do the same. I imagine the bills protecting the status quo of feeding bandwidth through an eyedropper at very high prices will get over turned.
    DonnieBoy
  • RE: No Broadband for You, You, or You: Kansas City wins Google Fibre

    They probably picked Kansas City, KS because of all the new things that are being built in that city alone, not to mention North Kansas City already has a fiber-optic network all its own, so I would expect Google to tap into that pre-existing line.
    Izzmo
  • Right the law is strictly there to stop companies like Google

    [i]It?s really the cable industry?s attempting to put roadblocks in the way of Google and other companies joining forces with local governments to provide affordable broadband Internet to a city or town?s citizens.[/i]

    Of course you see it that way, you have a limited vision of the world around you, and because it doesn't cost you anything more.

    There is a real issue here (which you'll never address) in which a private company, any company can be put out of bussiness if the government decides to use taxpayers money to create the same product a private company is.

    I have no problem with a government contracting with a company to provide a service, but have a real problem with a government that competes with the private sector using my money to do it.
    John Zern
    • RE: No Broadband for You, You, or You: Kansas City wins Google Fibre

      No need to pass bills, government would be unable to compete effectively... if he does you can take it as evidence that service providers are abusing you.
      tatel@...
    • Case for intervention

      @John Zern

      Let me address it then ...
      ... and ask that you consider 'the balance of power'. If global corporations become too strong then they exhibit all the drawbacks of monopolies to consumers: prices set by a cornered market (not cost); slow development in strongholds; restrictive practices and combined offerings making life impossible for new market entrants. Examples: the music industry; M$ Internet Explorer; Apple 30% tax on digital subscriptions and the emerging silos of Apple and Amazon ecosystems.

      I agree that Governments have no business interfering with 'the market' in general and should not be looking to set up business themselves. However when things reach a state where the incumbent vendors have a stranglehold on pricing, options, competitiveness and refuse to act over other imprtant issues (e.g. green, privacy) ... then it is appropriate to intervene.

      The real issue here (which you, biased ZDNET bloggers and biased politicians never address) is that you only present one side of the coin. Instead of looking at the overall picture and coming up with a better answer ... you consult the appropriate manifesto and come up with your [vendor/party/cause de jour].

      What you also miss is that companies like M$, Apple, INTEL, IBM, Google et al would be quite content to put EVERYONE ELSE out of business and take all your money. The Government is the consumers' major weapon against these giants but should only act to preserve 'the balance of power'.
      jacksonjohn
      • BS! Government should NEVER be in the business of competing

        against industry, and it should never be in the business of determining winners and losers, and it should never be in the business of "trying to level the playing field"..<br><br>When government gets involved in any capacity, be it with their own services, or assisting to set up other services, or setting up regulations, that's when things get really expensive. If you are so blind that you haven't noticed how inefficient and how expensive government services become, then you have no business discussing the subject at all. You also need to notice how much higher the cost of doing business gets when government gets involved through its interventions via regulations and taxation. Those are the reasons for so many companies offshoring production plants and so many of their jobs. <br><br>If you think that getting government involved would lower your costs on anything, you are likely the most naive person any one can encounter. Government doesn't know how to compete, and when they do have any service in which they are the exclusive provider, the costs are always on the rise, and people end up paying a lot more than with the private sector providing the service.
        adornoe
  • Google, do rural Britain next please!

    Hey, Google! Can you come in and sort out Britain's broadband infrastructure, please?
    http://www.timacheson.com/Blog/2011/feb/uk_internet_infrastructure
    Tim Acheson
  • Message has been deleted.

    Message has been deleted.
    james347
  • RE: No Broadband for You, You, or You: Kansas City wins Google Fibre

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    nivethas