Google ramps up, but divide looms
The Kansas City Star
The super-fast Google Internet service announcement earned a deserved buzz of excitement last week. The free access for public governments, libraries, community centers and schools are terrific benefits.
But as residents in parts of Kansas City and Kansas City, Kan., are rushing to sign up to be eligible for ultra-fast hookups for computers and televisions, there is a real risk of the Google rollout creating even more of a digital divide in Kansas City.
Those who can pay may be further empowered by benefits from high-speed service for computers and TVs.
So far, many poorer urban core neighborhoods are expressing interest in Google fiber at a slower rate than middle- and higher-income neighborhoods.
It’s important now for efforts to reach out to help the lower-income neighborhoods rally so the access doesn’t become a new dividing line.
In addition, many Kansas City-based businesses are still looking for answers on how they could benefit from Google fiber.
When the initial Google effort was announced in April of 2011, much attention was paid to how faster broadband speeds could, say, upgrade how health care is provided locally or attract clusters of innovative technology companies.
Yet last week’s unveiling focused more on how Google fiber would expand entertainment options.
Its impact on the local economy still carries high hopes but the particulars remain unknown.