Back in early 2010 Google was still looking at different cities to test run their Super-Speed Broadband Internet. Google was basically taking applications from different areas and listening to the reasons why they thought they would be good fit for the project. To make a long story short, Google chose Kansas City, Kansas as one of their pilot cities.
Of course the choice was not random, Google was obviously hoping to skirt some politics with the choice. A major deciding factor was the fact that the city and county governments are unified as one entity, which owns the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities and its utility poles. One would think this unity is a good thing for decision making time; less hands to coordinate.
Well surprise!, Google is finding out they don’t know that much about the ins and outs of dealing with physical utilities. The board overseeing the project is now hung-up on what they should charge Google for the use of the poles and debating the proper way to hang them. Sounds like the same bureaucratic non-sense they were hoping to avoid. Not surprising!
The project was supposed to be up and running in the first quarter of this year. Do you think that’s going to happen? Me neither.
Moving on to another city chosen for the Super-Speed Internet, Kansas City, Mo. Similar delays have been experienced here as well. Guess why? Again, the politics about using the utility poles. This time, the disputes are with other communication providers and the light and power companies.
Here’s a video on what KCP&L was saying about the project in May last year:
The core issue with the other providers is that they feel Google should be charged the same usage fees competitors are paying. According to the Kansas City Star and Matt Derrick, a local spokesman for Time Warner Cable, “Google’s not paying for the network”,“Somebody else already has.”
So the hold up is is over fair treatment. Why should Google get a discount on their network, when other utility providers are not? Although this stuff doesn’t look like a show-stopper for the Super-Speed Internet and Google, it does mean delays and a crash course in dealing with local politics for Google.