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On March 30, 2011, Google announced that it would bring its new high-speed fiberoptic network to Kansas City, Kan. Residents and businesses would be able to connect at a speed of 1 gigabit per second, 100 times faster than the average American's connection speed. In May 2011, the company announced that the service would be extended to Kansas City, Mo., as well. On July 26, 2012, Google announced that it would launch a television service along with the internet service. The announcement marked a six-week rally during which interested people can pre-register for Google's services. The next big date is Sept. 9, 2012, at which point the pre-registration period is over, and Kansas Citians who've secured the service can begin to schedule installations.

With New Fellowships, Google Takes Another Stab At Bridging The Digital Divide In KC

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Eric Baker
/
KCUR
Google announced Thursday they will place two fellows in Kansas City to address the 'digital divide.'

Google will fund two temporary positions in Kansas City aimed at narrowing the digital divide, the company announced Thursday. The people hired for the positions will work to get people in low-income communities online.

Google Fiber came to Kansas City pledging to make the internet more accessible to everyone. It offered very low cost connections in some neighborhoods, but didn’t wire others, where interest in the service was low. The upfront cost of installing Google Fiber made it unattractive for many low-income renters.

Andrew Bentley manages Google Fiber’s Digital Inclusion Program, and he says the “fellows” funded under this program and the local organizations hosting them will have lots of leeway.

“Residents and community advocates in Kansas City, they’re going to know what makes sense for their community more than I would, or a Google employee that’s not from Kansas City,” says Bentley.

Google’s taking the same approach in the other seven cities with Google Fiber. Each community will get two fellows who will make $35,000 each for their year working on the program.

Google will spend a little under $1 million on the program nationwide.

I’ve been at KCUR almost 30 years, working partly for NPR and splitting my time between local and national reporting. I work to bring extra attention to people in the Midwest, my home state of Kansas and of course Kansas City. What I love about this job is having a license to talk to interesting people and then crafting radio stories around their voices. It’s a big responsibility to uphold the truth of those stories while condensing them for lots of other people listening to the radio, and I take it seriously. Email me at frank@kcur.org or find me on Twitter @FrankNewsman.
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