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Google Fiber's impact on Kansas City 10 years later

Provo, Utah, is one of three cities in which Google is rolling out its Google Fiber gigabit Internet and television service.
George Frey
In 2011, Kansas City was named the nation’s first Google Fiber Community, launching a period of extreme digital transformation.

The arrival of Google Fiber in Kansas City highlighted the challenges the country faces when it comes to ensuring that low income household have access to the promise of world-class internet speeds.

KC Digital Drive was founded in 2012 by the City of Kansas City, Missouri, and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, to address the digital equity issues revealed when Google Fiber launched in Kansas City and to mitigate the gaps in adapting to emerging technologies in the bi-state region.

Now, it's been 10 years since those efforts began and Aaron Deacon, managing director of KC Digital Drive, says Kansas City is ahead of other big cities when it comes to access to fiber.

"We have more fiber here than almost any big city in the U.S. We have a competitive fiber market," Deacon says. "We have fiber that serves some of our poorest neighborhoods that the rest of the country kind of salivates over."

KC Digital Drive is not doing this alone. The Kansas City Coalition for Digital Inclusion, with members such as the Kansas City Public Library, Mid-America Regional Council and others, helped develop other projects such as KC Goes Tech.

Leslie Scott, digital inclusion program manager, says KC Digital Drive saw an urgent need to help direct service agencies by providing new training tools and a small amount of financial support. This would allow them to better help their clients build digital skills and more fully participate in digital society.

  • Aaron Deacon, managing director of KC Digital Drive
  • Leslie Scott, digital inclusion program manager of KC Digital Drive

Forward to the Future — A 10 Year Celebration for KC Digital Drive is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 12, 4:30-7:30 p.m. at The Abbott, 1901 Cherry Street, Kansas City, Missouri, 64108. Registration is here.

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