July 02, 2012
Amanda Schnieders, Kauffman Foundation
Columnist Reiterates Importance of Community Involvement in Google Fiber Initiative
Everyone is still waiting to see what Kansas City will do with this new gigabit network Google has promised will arrive anytime now. On Jun. 29, San Jose Mercury News columnist Chris O’Brien reiterated the same fears about the coming network in “As Google gets ready to launch its gigabit network, Kansas City asks: Now What?” as Kansas City officials and government entities have been talking about for more than a year.
The big worries revolve around three things: 1) whether this fiber network will widen the digital divide 2) will it overload Kansas City with high-tech immigrants and drive up the cost of living, and most of all 3) whether Kansas City will waste this opportunity to become the most tech-savvy, entrepreneurial city in the world.
As O’Brien remarked, “the good news for Kansas City is that plenty of people seem eager to tackle these questions, just as Google hoped they would.” There are a slew of official groups and advocates fighting to bring attention to the different ways that Kansas Citians can make use of the world’s soon-to-be fastest broadband network.
The Mayor’s Bistate Innovations Team published a 42-page report with 20 plus ideas of how to tape into this new fiber network. Praising the report, O’Brien noted “what impressed me most about the document, and gave me hope that Kansas City will get this right, is that the authors clearly know that technology will not magically make all their dreams come true.”
O’Brien makes it clear that it is the community’s job to run with these new ideas and innovations, in order to bring Kansas City closer to being the most “entrepreneurial place in the world, the center of a health care revolution and a leader in education.”