Fiber City: Google Network Fuels Kansas City Startups
History was made in Kansas City, Mo., in January when Google launched its new fiber-optic data network there, proclaiming the Midwestern metropolis the first "fiber city."
For Google, it marked the first time the company implemented a business model that served customers directly at home.
The network is made of strands of glass, each about the thickness of a hair, that can each transfer information 100 times faster than the Internet connections most people currently use.
"We're bringing the fiber to your home, and that's why Google Fiber is different," Rachel Hack, Google's community manager, told TechNewsDaily. "It's also building from the ground up a new marketing model, 'fiber hoods.'"
As host for this experiment, Kansas City may make a mark in digital entrepreneurship.
Kansas City Mayor Sly James exuded enthusiasm when he met with members of the Kansas City start-up village, an entrepreneurial community in the first "Google fiberhood."
Many of those entrepreneurs shared the mayor's optimism for the network. "We have this opportunity to change the perception, where the city is no longer just this cow town, but a destination for tech talent," said Adam Arredondo, co-founder of the start-up community LocalRuckus.com.
Synthia Payne decided to launch Cyber Jammer Network, which allows musicians to play together, online, from different locations.
Google's high-speed network makes that possible. "It has crazy good latency," said Payne, referring to the minimal delay in sending data over the fibers (obviously critical for people playing music together). [See also: What Are the Best Home Internet and TV Services?]
"All of these things are at the tipping point," said Hack. "This is going to be a big year for Kansas City."
"We're Google's test tube," said Ray Daniels, co-chair of the Mayors' bi-state innovation team. "We think they've learned a lot here."