Google Fiber’s take on cherry picking seems to be to leave rich but stroppy communities to the tender mercies of cable and telephone companies, while building where the municipal welcome wagon drives out to meet them. Overland Park, a Kansas City suburb with lots of prosperous people and good paying jobs, appears to have to permanently gone to the back of the fiber construction line – if not out of it completely – because the city council dragged its feet when it came time to sign a contract. According to a story in the Kansas City Star, by Yael Abouhalkah…
Google Fiber project manager Kevin Lo was on speaker phone this week, talking to The Star’s Editorial Board, when I asked about the strained Google-Overland Park relationship.
After first evading a direct answer on when fiber would come to that city, Lo said this:
“We will see what happens when we’re finished up with the rest of Kansas City.”
On the other hand, Google is looking into what it might take to extend fiber to poorer neighborhoods in Nashville, Tennesee. In contrast to Overland Park, council members there are lighting a fire under government departments to get them to move faster. Nashville is one of the 34 cities that Google is considering for its next round of fiber builds and the metro council wants to make sure its fiber-ready check list is complete.
Google clearly and deliberately intends to be disruptive, as it continues its gigabit crusade. That means facing down opposition, from incumbent carriers or nimby neighborhoods alike.