Google Fiber

When Google first announced its intention to bring high-speed fiber optic cable to Kansas City, Ks., the service was supposed to help close the digital divide. Four years later, we check in on whether access to the internet has improved in the metro.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

The best way to visualize a school district’s Internet connection may be to compare it to a busy network of highways:

First, an Internet service provider, like Time Warner or Google Fiber, sends in the Internet on one big eight-lane freeway to a district’s main servers. Here, the Internet connection may meet some firewalls and content filters — think of these as tollbooths — and then, the Internet is streamed out to the district’s schools through fiber cable on what you might think of as two-lane country roads.

Frank Morris / KCUR

Increasingly Americans see fast internet as being more like a functioning sewer line, than a luxury. And to that end, a number of cities are trying to get into the internet provider business. But laws in 19 states hamper those efforts. President Obama wants to lift those restrictions.  Supporters of what’s known as municipal broadband can’t wait.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Two years ago, metro-area entrepreneurs started buying houses in the first Kansas City, Kan., neighborhood to get Google Fiber.

They wanted to take advantage of the ultra-fast Internet as they launched new ventures in what quickly became known as the Kansas City Startup Village.

The plan was to create a community of entrepreneurs on either side of State Line Road. But because the two states have different economic incentives for new businesses, many entrepreneurs gravitated toward the Kansas side of the Startup Village.

Neerav Bhatt / Flickr--CC

The Overland Park City Council will vote Monday night on a pair of plans to bring Google Fiber to the Kansas suburb, months after striking a preliminary deal.

Google Fiber walked away from that discussion after several council members asked about liability for city-owned utilities such as light poles, even though they ultimately wanted to approve the plan. 

That shouldn't be a problem moving forward, says Councilman Paul Lyons.

Kansas City was selected as the first place in the country to receive Google Fiber. Now that fiber networks have been established in the many communities in the metropolitan area, users have experienced internet connection that is 100 times faster than typical broadband speeds.

As Google Fiber and other fiber networks expand to other cities we explore how well Kansas City is capitalizing on it's head start and where it might be falling short. 

Guests:

Courtesy / EyeVerify

The Kansas City metro area has become home to numerous tech startups over the last few years, in part because of  Google Fiber, but also because low rental prices and large cutting-edge tech companies that call the city home.

Out of his single floor office space in Kansas City's startup village on 45th and Stateline, in Kansas City, Kan., Toby Rush gives a demo of the mobile phone application he’s developing, and it is like something out of a spy movie.

Courtesy / Connecting for Good

While Google has cast a spotlight on Kansas City that has the country excited about high speed internet, like most cities around the country, access is not equally available.

Internet activists believe that the arrival of Google Fiber has highlighted the so-called digital divide. But Google says it wants to work with the communities and organizations involved in bridging the gap.

Digital training, a life necessity 

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Long before Google Fiber arrived in 2011, Kansas City has had a thriving technology sector, with cutting-edge companies like Cerner, Garmin and Sprint (whose roots go back to 1899 in Abilene, Kan.). Many of these companies have spawned other technology startups, which you can see on this impressive KC tech genealogy map.

The Roeland Park City Council Tuesday voted to bring Google Fiber, the high-speed Internet service, to the city. Spokeswoman Jenna Wandres says Roeland Park marks the "14th local Kansas City expansion (in addition to the original announcements in Kansas City, Kan.

The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation Wednesday afternoon announced it would manage a fund aimed at bridging the digital divide in Kansas City.

Recent studies of digital literacy in Kansas City have shown a quarter of our residents don’t have broadband at home.  Seventeen percent don’t use the internet at all.

Wednesday’s announcement of the Kansas City Digital Inclusion Fund is aimed at raising those percentages.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Google announced yesterday that it’s building a new high-speed fiber-optic network -- this time in Austin, Texas. It’s been two years since the company announced it would build its first fiber-optic network here in Kansas City, and many residents hoped it would be everywhere by now.

Planning for the network has Kansas Citians rethinking the future of many aspects of life and business here.

Ground Zero for Google Fiber

Google announced Tuesday that its Google Fiber project would be hitting Austin, Texas, next. The company says Austin, famous for its South by Southwest festival, is a "mecca for creativity and entrepreneurialism, with thriving artistic and tech communities."

Google Fiber is the tech giant's blazing fast Internet service, with current rates at 1 Gpbs, about 100 times faster than your typical cable broadband Internet service. It debuted in Kansas City in 2012.

What began as a lofty goal to increase access to high-speed Internet has become a reality with Google Fiber. However, questions about the methods behind implementing this service still remain.

Lasse Fuss / WikiCommons

Technology can be a boon or a bust to cities, depending on how it's applied.

Frank Morris

Part of the hype that’s come with Google Fiber is how great the super-fast internet speed could be for IT businesses.

Google

The deadline to pre-register for Google Fiber, what Google is calling their new super-fast internet service, came to a close September 9th.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

Studies from Google indicated that 42 percent of lower income areas in Kansas City don’t have access to internet.

Courtesy / Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas City’s civic and business leaders are mounting a push to spawn high-tech companies here.

Google wrapped up its six-week sign up campaign for Google Fiber on September 9, 2012. 180 out of a little more than 200 neighborhoods in Kansas City qualified for the service.

Kansas City leaders were thrilled when they beat out 11,000 other cities for something called Google Fiber.  Now residents are competing to bring the blazing fast internet service to their neighborhood first. 

Eric Baker / KCUR

1,100 other cities wanted it, but we got it: Google Fiber.  Since it was announced that ‘we got it’ about a year and a half ago, Kansas City has been eagerly waiting for details. 

Google Reveals Fiber Project Details In Kansas City

Jul 26, 2012
Jake Fowler / flickr

Update 11:51 a.m.: Thursday kicked off a Google Fiber six-week rally during which residents of Kansas City, Kan. and central Kansas City, Mo., can demonstrate their desire to bring the service to their neighborhoods, or "fiberhoods," as Google has named them.

Aaron Deacon / Social Media Club of Kansas City

Google Fiber is scheduled to make a "special announcement" on Thursday, July 26, at 11 am CDT.

kcmo.org

One down and one go to: baseball’s 2012 All-Star Game brought national attention to Kansas City, and this Thursday, Google Fiber will tell us how much it will cost to speed up our reputation.

Kevin Shockey

When asked for ways to improve local government, most people wouldn't say that better computer programming and smart phone applications should be the first item on the agenda.

Google Fiber Announces 'Save The Date'

Jul 18, 2012

Google Fiber's website revealed Wednesday that the project will launch in Kansas City on July 26. The short message also says that there will be an announcement on the 26th, and interested parties can sign up here to receive it via email.

bigstock.com

Updated June 27, 2012 12:00pm:  Google has rejected Connecting for Good's wifi plan for Rosedale, according to Michael Liimatta.  He was told the idea is "not in their current licensing agreements."  Liimatta says he's still moving forward with the plan for an e-community center.

Google has promised Kansas City speed-of-light internet. The potential for residents, businesses, schools and hospitals, we've been told, is enormous.

Google Fiber Coming Soon...So What?

Jun 6, 2012

There's no question that we're going to get it, but then what do we do with it? The ultra-high-speed internet service, Google Fiber, is coming to Kansas City, but many questions remain as to what it will mean for the community. 

An IP set-top box with a Google Fiber label was recently added to the FCC database, Engadget reports. The label suggests the device is part of the Google Fiber project in development for Kansas City, Kan. and Kansas City, Mo.

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