The Kansas City Project: How Google Fiber Has Changed a City
When you think of high-tech hubs, most people envision somewhere on one of the two coasts. Google is trying to change that perception in, of all places, landlocked Kansas City. Three months ago, Google began installing Internet connections 100 times faster than what was available, hoping to attract Web entrepreneurs. And attract they did.
Where last spring a meeting of Web businessmen and women drew a dozen people, this year, that meeting attracted a SRO 260. More importantly, the project has challenged the local cable companies, which still offer speeds one-tenth of Google Fiber at higher prices.
Some privacy concerns have arisen, however. John Simpson, director of public interest group Consumer Watchdog, sees Google Fiber as “yet another way to gather and amass information about people, to build their digital dossiers. They have so much data about users at their fingertips.” Whether this experiment expands past Kansas City is unclear, but at the very least, it has turned a spotlight on the high cable bills, low speeds and poor customer service experienced by too many Americans.