Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kansas City gets a gigabit heart from Google. The Wizard is back.

The Wizard of Oz as pictured in The Wonderful ...Image via Wikipedia
Yesterday, Google announced that Kansas City, Kansas was the winner of the high speed fiber network deployment that took a year to decide. It's as if the Wizard of Oz came to town and got a job as CIO with the KCK government. Certainly Topeka was a noisy contender getting Google's attention last April 1st with a Google Doodle to suit the occasion. But it was the solid community behind Mayor Joe Reardon and the business support groups that swayed Google to bring gigabit speed to our prairie town.

Some of the groups that have participated in the decision, I'm sure have been the Marion Ewing Kauffman Foundation, KCNext, and the KU Med Center. The Kauffman Foundation in particular has been the leading supporter nationally for the education of entrepreneurs and now gets to take their passion for community building into the grey streets of KCK.

Google is also interested in supporting the Kansas City, KS community through non-profit groups. It's important to raise your awareness if you are helping to benefit our area through technology to get on their list by registering with them on their site.

The first thing that KCK will benefit from will be the build out of the network where local folks will get jobs  necessary for running cable and building infrastructure. It will take some time before the users of the network get to benefit from any kind of high speed surfing. But it won't be the browser and texting users that will see an increase in speed as much as we'll see other benefits. Sure we can knock on the doors faster asking for web pages but most of the world can't respond at the same speed so most of the responses will be just as fast.

There are large consumers and producers of internet information here around Kansas City and for the people that access that information, they will be seeing a better response time. Maybe the people like Infegy, a social monitoring service, or AdKnowledge, the largest privately owned advertising network, will move some of their operations over to KCK to take advantage of the speed and produce better and advanced services.

One thing I have to answer for myself is just how the fastest fiber network that is currently available in the area will play into Google's plans. The Sprint backbone of fiber supports telephone communication and for personal use, hardly anyone gets to benefit except for those that pay to use it to support their phone systems. The military certainly is a major consumer of the fiber backbone with Ft. Leavenworth being a quiet powerhouse on the digital frontier. Sprint has been longing for a partner which they might just have found in Google. They were ignored as a suitor once more for the merger of T-Mobile recently. This could have big implications for the future of Sprint.

I'm certainly excited about all the future possibilities that Google has honored our area with. We're a great community that was waiting for that perfect storm which I think is finally here. The parts we needed were the technological know-how that Sprint attracted in the last decade, the entrepreneurial impetus that the Kauffman Foundation is continuing to supply, and now finally the infrastructure from Google that will generate decades more business energy to a community that deserves the best.
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