Kansas City chosen over Ann Arbor for Google Fiber build-out

broadbandtohomeGoogle announced today that Kansas City, Kansas beat out Ann Arbor and almost 1,100 other cities to become the home of their first high-speed broadband fiber-optic network. It would have been a huge boon to Michigan if Ann Arbor had been chosen, as this fiber build-out will no doubt attract numerous IT-related companies looking to leverage the speed and access, but, alas, it’s not to be. At least not yet. It does sound as though Google plans to move into other areas soon, though, assuming things go well in Kansas City. On this subject, Google founder Sergey Brin said today, “That’s why we’re rolling out to communities, starting with Kansas City, that are going to give one gigabit of access to every home.” So, Kansas City is just the start. And, who knows — maybe we can do it without Google, as Ann Arbor already, from what I understand, has a great deal of dark fiber in the ground, just waiting to be connected and lit up… More on Google’s plans for Kansas City can be found here.

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  1. Knox
    Posted March 30, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know what kind of situation Kansas is in, maybe they’re struggling too, but this could have been great for Michigan. Hopefully we’re next on the list.

    I have one question, though. How does Google make money on this? Do they become the service provider, bumping out AT&T and Comcast?

  2. Knox
    Posted March 30, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    On the subject of doing it ourselves, here’s a comment from the AA.com site.

    There’s more than enough talent locally to build what Google proposed. It’s just a matter of bankrolling it and getting cooperation from local governments. Well, that and fending off AT&T’s lawyers, something that Google was in a far better position to do. I recommend these two local blog posts on the subject:


    If some wealthy Ann Arborites want to invest in an old-fashioned dividend paying utility, this would make for a very good one. No, I’m not going to do it but I’ll buy a subscription to the service if it gets built.

  3. Ed Thomas
    Posted March 31, 2011 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    I believe Ann Arbor was a finalist in the competition, due in large part to U-M researchers, and their ideas as to how they could leverage the high-speed network to further their research.

  4. Silky
    Posted March 31, 2011 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    A few interesting notes from the A2Geeks mailing list:

    1) This infrastructure is no small undertaking. There is a reason
    smaller nations like those in the EU and South Korea can offer very
    high speed connections to their populace, mainly size, population
    density and a different political climate.

    That being said, I highly recommend reading this article about a
    community fiber network out west in WA:

    2) The big challenge is access to poles and aerial right-of-way. In
    addition to the fact that google clearly didn’t want to bestow this
    gift onto an affluent community (KCK’s income per capita is 309th in
    Kansas municipalities and barely half of A2s) the big issue is that
    the city of Ann Arbor does not own its poles, DTE does. I would
    assume that KCK does, or has strong relations with the entity that
    does own them, as most of the questions asked in the application
    centered around this issue.

  5. dragon
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    House Republicans Sell Out North Carolina’s Broadband Future to Big Telecom
    -Phillip Dampier March 29, 2011

    Not a single Republican member of the North Carolina House of Representatives stood with consumers yesterday as the cable industry’s custom-written anti-community-broadband bill — H.129 — passed the House in a lopsided 81-37 vote. Fifteen Democrats joined them, some after it was apparent the bill would enjoy lockstep support from their Republican colleagues. Only three dozen Democrats were willing to choose the interests of their constituents over the interests (and campaign contributions) from Time Warner Cable, AT&T, and CenturyLink.

    Rep. Bill Faison (D-Orange) told WRAL-TV voters need to be aware H.129 was Time Warner’s custom-written bill imposing harsh terms and conditions on community broadband networks, while exempting big cable and phone companies.

    “Where’s the bill to govern Time Warner?” Faison asked.

    Faison predicted the bill will make it next to impossible for any future community broadband effort to deliver service, even in areas where nobody else has or will.

  6. Kim
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    For capitalists, they sure hate competition.

  7. Knox
    Posted April 17, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    On the subject of whether we could do it ourselves.

    NC towns build municipal-owned fiber optic networks, Time Warner Cable and NC republicans promptly try to ban future attempts at this.

    A bill in the North Carolina General Assembly could determine the fate of Internet access across the state.

    The fourth in a series of similar bills, House Bill 129 seeks to impose boundaries on municipal government-run communication services like broadband.

    Supporters say the bill will level the playing field so that city governments will not use unfair advantages to compete with private communication companies.

    “Cities are going out of their jurisdiction. They took it upon themselves to go into the cable business with certain advantages,” said N.C. Rep. Marilyn Avila, R-Wake, primary sponsor of the bill. “They do not have to pay taxes, for example. Competing with these advantages is unhealthy.”


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