Today, Google unveils the neighborhoods in Kansas City, Mo., that will get a fiber-optic Internet hook-up the rest of us can only dream of. Google picked Kansas City from a thousand cities around the country for its so-called “Google Fiber” pilot program.
It is clear that although Google will ultimately profit from such ventures, they are also doing the city a service by laying all this fiber around the city. Still, some residents see problems arising.
Most neighborhoods in town are expected to qualify for the service — but it’ll start at $70 a month, so it’s not clear how many people will sign up.
“A lot of the concern has been about the issue of the digital divide,” says Aaron Deacon of the market research firm, Curiolab. “There are a lot of people — 20 to 25 percent of households — who don’t have any Internet connection right now.”
“There’s become an intense interest,” he adds, “in: How do we provide the connectivity — even at current speeds — to communities and individuals who don’t have that right now, who don’t understand why it’s worthwhile.”
The hope is that this “Google Fiber” program will help start to fill in the gaps in connectivity, especially in poorer neighborhoods.
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