GoogleKC - Kansas City Missouri's Response to Google's Fiber for Communities RFI
1. Executive Summary
2. RFI Response Data Entered At Google's Response Site
3. Next Generation Apps
4. New Deployment Techiniques
5. Openness & Choice
6. Regulatory Issues
7. Leveraging Current Local Broadband Assets and Projects
9. A Citizen's Response to Participation in the GoogleKC Coalition
Support Letters from the Community
GoogleKC - The Next Great Thing Starts Here! Great things start in Kansas City, from the trails west to the information highway. Kansas City has always been the hub of technological advancement, as evidenced by the success of great entrepreneurial companies and foundations including the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, AMC Theaters, DST Systems, Inc., Tradebot, Infegy, Cerner, Handmark, Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute, KC SourceLink, Stower's Institute and Midwest Research Institute are among many others listed in this response.
The GoogleKC Coalition, the City of Kansas City, Mo.’s coalition response to Google’s Fiber for Communities RFI, clearly demonstrates why Google representatives should select Kansas City, Mo. as their partner to implement the experimental one-gigabit-per-second, ultra-high-speed, fiber-to-the-home broadband network. Building on our city’s portfolio of success, the GoogleKC Coalition will work to ensure that Google’s experimental ultra-high-speed broadband network will be deployed quickly and efficiently, provide maximum benefit to residents and provide the desired proof-of-concept necessary to support and inform deployments elsewhere.
GoogleKC is a public-private partnership formed in the Crossroads Arts District, which is the heart of Kansas City’s diverse, innovative community. GoogleKC participants have identified Kansas City’s strengths and have developed related partnerships that will reach beyond the implementation of this project.
GoogleKC envisions optimizing Google's ultra-high-speed Internet to provide opportunities for connectivity, innovation and efficiency to all Kansas Citians by leveraging our existing infrastructure resources in conjunction with innovative projects and funding opportunities, including:
1. The Green Impact Zone - The Green Impact Zone is a federally funded project to transform an urban community through comprehensive programs and resources. The mission of the Green Impact Zone is to enhance sustainability in the urban environment and create green jobs. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Green Impact Zone has been awarded funds through the Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program totaling $50 million awarded to the region with $26.2 million for the Green Impact Zone.
The program will benefit from the enhanced communication and information sharing that will be part of Google’s ultra high-speed network.
2. Kansas City Power & Light’s SmartGrid demonstration project partnering with the Green Impact Zone - $24 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and $24 million in matching funds contributed by KCP&L and a coalition of SmartGrid industry partners.
3. Broadband Technology Opportunity and Broadband Initiatives Programs (BTOP/BIP) - Submitted funding requests will allow for upgrades to broadband lines to public libraries, public housing units, and community centers to allow better access to broadband service and special health, career and other digital resource collections provided by Kansas City-area libraries.
4. The Kansas City Missouri School District’s Right Sizing Plan. Along with many urban school districts, the Kansas City, Mo. School District has faced budget and academic challenges. It’s time to turn the school district around and Google Fiber will be a valuable asset in making that happen. Ultimately, by providing competitively priced broadband access points and greater public computing capacity in the urban core, GoogleKC seeks to foster new broadband adopters, provide opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship, and expand the culture of technology use.
Success in the Google Fiber Project will be based on each test city’s ability to develop applications that are both highly beneficial and “next generation,” feasibly deploying the network to create value for residents across the city and developing open accessibility to ensure diverse benefits. We recognize that flexibility, negotiation and collaboration with a positive sense of urgency are required to make this effort successful, and the Kansas City spirit will guide us in this effort. GoogleKC has responded to the goals of the RFI as follows:
Next Generation Apps – our apps team, led by Eric Solberg, has engaged an enthusiastic tech community to harness the tremendous power of limitless creativity that
will be unleashed by Google’s ultra-high-speed network.
New Deployment Techniques – our deployment team, led by Greg Rokos, City Engineer, has organized the engineering & construction community, public utilities and our State and local regulatory agencies to streamline the regulatory processes and deploy the project expeditiously, using the latest and most innovative construction methods. We are documenting regulatory processes and deployment techniques and will be able to support and inform deployments elsewhere. Working with the American Public Works Association (APWA), headquartered here in Kansas City, Mo., we will be able to establish new standards for deployment to public works departments across the nation.
Openness & Choice – our connectivity team, led by Graeme Gibson, has organized local, regional, and national ISPs that recognize the importance of a carrier-neutral network. These providers are prepared to work with Google on implementation strategies, end-user support, and development of a system to maximize consumer choice. Downtown Kansas City is home to 1102 Grand, the Midwest's Carrier Hotel. The Meet Me Room at 1102 Grand is a carrier neutral hosting environment that allows clients to blend a custom mix of carriers to suit their needs. The spirit and practice of the Meet Me Room will greatly inform our approach toward openness on the Google fiber network.
Collaboration on Google Fiber Trial Single Point of Contact -– Acting City Manager Troy Schulte has appointed Rick Usher, Assistant to the City Manager, as the single point of contact for coordination of local government and community actions with Google. Mr. Usher is authorized to act in this capacity in both the submittal of the City’s response and in the implementation of the Google fiber trial. Mr. Usher has successfully facilitated GoogleKC, and our team is looking forward to selection as one of Google’s trial locations. GoogleKC is prepared to conduct site visits with Google’s site selection team.
Through the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, we have assembled a team of top business leaders and industry experts to assist Google in concluding that the next great thing starts in Kansas City.
Community Support – Since the first day of announcement of the RFI, Tom Ruddy, civic leader, has championed the cause for Kansas City, Mo.’s bid. To date, this support includes the nation’s leader in entrepreneurial philanthropy, major educational institutions, business organizations, economic development agencies, elected officials and neighborhood leaders.
Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City
Emanuel Cleaver, Congressman
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Green Impact Zone
Greater KC Women’s Political Caucus
Hunt Midwest Enterprises
Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute
Kansas City Power & Light
Kansas City Area Development Council
Kansas City Missouri School District
Midwest Research Institute
Swope Community Enterprises
Theresa Garza Ruiz, 1st District at Large Jackson County Legislator
The Chamber (Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce)
And many others not listed.
Counties included in Kansas City, Mo. city limits:
Clay County, Mo., Clay County Commission
Jackson County, Mo., Mike Sanders, Jackson County Executive
Platte County, Mo., Platte County Commissioners
Mayor & City Council:
Current Programs Supporting the Google Fiber Trial - Kansas City is already pursuing leadership in the fiber to communities arena.
Two plans adopted or in progress supporting initiatives such as this:
Greater Downtown Area Plan – Adopted by the City Council on March 11, 2010, the plan includes implementation steps to double downtown employment and residences
Heart of the City Area Plan – currently being drafted with a high level of community involvement, this plan will set the City’s strategy for reinvigorating our urban neighborhoods
We look forward to the next great thing starting in Kansas City in partnership with Google!
Next Generation Apps
The slow move from 1-megabyte downloads to 10-megabyte downloads offered by most residential internet providers serves to make us better consumers. These relatively slow download speeds and frustratingly slower upload speeds will prevent the City of Kansas City from remaining nationally and internationally competitive.
The idea of synchronous connectivity to and from all nodes at speeds one-hundred to a thousand times greater offers local developers opportunities they could only once dream of. Achieving such speeds, at the most basic levels, means that workers do not waste time waiting for downloads; programmers can focus more on UI, UX and content rather than download optimization; and our community can actively contribute content using freely available tools such as SketchUp for 3-D modeling and YouTube for video.
Side by side with fiber to the home initiatives is the emergence of HTML5. This new standard presents an outstanding opportunity to easily use and contribute content. The capability of HTML5 may not be known for a few years but early talk and rapid acceptance by industries seems promising. The ability to include native video as easily as images will enhance the ability for diverse people to connect across the network. Couple that opportunity with audio-visual recognition applications currently being developed and accessible knowledge will be available to everyone instantly!
Discussion is also underway to use HTML5 as a vehicle for next-generation application delivery. Writing an application capable of running on any device regardless of platform through browser will increase the development and adoption of useful tools.
Kansas City is home to developers on all current platforms who keep close eye on the latest advances and live to build and test. A more effective framework for application development and near-instant connectivity throughout the community will produce things currently unreachable, although we’ll continue to try using the current infrastructure.
The next-generation level also holds tremendous opportunity for multi-source high-definition video streaming and team collaboration; real-time multi-user modeling and analysis that will strongly benefit a number of processes and industries, including:
Online community-based information, such as mashups and geographic information systems
Service-oriented architecture for non-profits, governments and businesses
Disseminating large files of information from library collections and similar sources
And the biggest potential of all: shared computing cycles.
Kansas City has an active tech community functioning across all of these industries and already has the collective passion to move forward making our city an ideal sandbox for Google’s ultra high-speed network.
New Deployment Techniques
The City of Kansas City is well suited to deploy the ultra-high-speed network through the GoogleKC initiative. The City has excellent and close ties with the major infrastructure owners, the architecture/design community and the construction industry in the city proper as well as the region. These stakeholders are delivering services already involved with the design/build aspects of fiber deployment and have been leading the way in best practices and innovation when it comes to the actual dirt work of rolling out projects of this magnitude.
Kansas City’s Public Works Department controls virtually all of the public rights of way in the city, providing the path to bring fiber to its citizens. A comprehensive map of this access is included in this presentation.
The Water Services Department has direct access to tens of thousands of homes and is engaged in ongoing infrastructure maintenance and upgrades. This on-the-ground knowledge and experience is invaluable for partners such as Google in deploying a fiber-optic network in an urban environment.
The other City departments such as City Planning & Development, Information Technology, and Public Works are mobilized and prepared to work with Google to provide efficient procedures for navigating the processes of Kansas City government. Recent major infrastructure projects with public/private partnerships have developed best practices that will greatly benefit Google. The Power & Light District, recent sewer and water upgrades, the flood control projects of Brush Creek and the Blue River are all success stories of government working with multiple entities, public and private, to deliver results on time. The City welcomes new and safe construction methods subject to its review and approval and already approves nearly all of the methods in use today.
A single electric utility serves all of Kansas City. Kansas City Power and Light and its parent company, Great Plains Energy, operate a number of cutting edge coal plants, wind farms and nuclear facilities, providing reliable and safe energy to the region. In the Kansas City metropolitan area, they own and operate, in public right of way, thousands of poles that allow for access to every home, public facility and business. The leadership of KCPL is providing a more detailed view of this infrastructure for purposes of this RFI.
Being in the center of the United States, Kansas City has long been a hub of rail activity with a number of lines and rights-of-way (extending 25 feet on either side from the center of the track) in the city limits and in the region. To coordinate the use, access and management of the rail system in the region, all of the railroads pooled the majority of their track and ROW into the Kansas City Terminal. This is the single entity that makes decisions for this varied ROW. Essentially, an interested party need only submit a proposal to the governing board of the KCT to begin negotiations for the use of rail right-of-way. Because this single entity makes decisions, a company like Google would have a streamlined process for gaining access to the tracks that criss-cross the metro, allowing for simplified deployment of fiber along these lines.
The architecture and engineering community is unmatched in design capability, planning and management. With nationally and regionally well known companies based in the city such as Burns & McDonnell, Bucher Willis & Ratliff, HNTB and others, Kansas City is well known as a place to go to get things done. These companies are leaders in developing new technology as well as improving upon proven techniques. Couple that with the traditional Midwestern “can-do” attitude, and Google will have little trouble finding the proper resources to deploy, refine and manage its network.
When considering the deployment suggested in the RFI, the resources of the entire metropolitan area can be brought to bear. Sprint Nextel Corporation is just across the state line in Overland Park. The businesses that have popped up around the metro to support the growth of Sprint have learned how to deploy wireline and wireless networks to end-users quite effectively. Burns & McDonnell is a world-class engineering firm located in the metro that has experience in all aspects of telecommunications development including fiber deployment.
The construction community in Kansas City is varied and experienced. From national players that include JE Dunn and Walton to the local subcontractors such as KC Underground and Midwest Underground, local teams will be highly effective in running, hanging, trenching, boring and bringing the fiber to its final destination. The experience that these teams have from project management to field changes makes Google’s goal, high-speed access for reasonable rates, possible. Controlling costs, expecting and planning for the unexpected, and quality, consistent work product are, simply put, how it gets done. The companies that built the existing fiber lines in KC, whether public or privately held, have counted on local expertise to drive their success.
GoogleKC and Kansas City, Missouri have a head start. There is a city ready to work, clear paths to the homes and businesses that Google wants access to, a varied and innovative design and project management community to draw expertise from and the crews to get out in the field and make things happen. GoogleKC – the next great thing starts here.
Openness & Choice
"All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again."
-first line of Kansas City favorite son Walt Disney's classic Peter Pan
The good old days. The gentle, familiar whine of a 14.4 modem settling into a conversation with the modem on the other end. The speed was not fantastic, but most shareware programs were under a 1 MB in size and would be yours in just 45 minutes - barring a call waiting interruption or your mom picking up the phone. AOL, Compuserve, Netzero, Blue Light (K-Mart's ISP!), PeoplePC, eWorld (oh Apple, how could you?), and countless local ISPs with banks of modems all were vying for your attention.
No one pines for the speeds of even a 56k modem, but modern broadband consumers are missing out on the ISP competition that existed in those days. The infrastructure was divorced from the provider.
The infrastructure was the POTS (plain old telephone system), the ISPs competed on this level playing field for your dollars. They offered promotions, benefits, quality guarantees, tech support, and features specific to their service. The most successful of these competitors won market share based on their superior applications.
Hence the Disney quote regarding the "eternal return." A carrier neutral fiber network will once again allow for competition that benefits the end consumer. Kansas City is home to about 30 ISPs, who will be able to compete on the service level, price point, or even at the application level. Bundled services, from on demand à la carte television, to phone and video communications will be the new way for ISPs to compete for and earn our dollars. What will be the fiber fueled equivalent of "You've got mail?"
You likely have noticed from other sections that the city is committed to solid fiber optic deployment and significant efforts are in place to provide access (often free or low-cost) to areas within the urban core to generate connected opportunities for all residents. From a business standpoint, national and local ISPs active in the Kansas City area have pledged their support to the Google Fiber for Communities project here in Kansas City and we are ready to collaborate with Google.
The City of Kansas City, as a community and a governmental entity, recognizes that technology infrastructure is a critical component to the continued success of American business amidst an ever-expanding world economy. That awareness will be a key consideration in the removal or limitation of the hurdles encountered by a project of this magnitude and potential.
Regulatory concerns implicated by this project, such as the issuance of permits, modification and/or application of various agreements, rights of way, and state agency reporting/filing requirements, will affect any chosen community partner, including Kansas City. The City of Kansas City, along with Clay, Jackson and Platte Counties, is dedicated to the adoption of policies that would allow for a seamless integration of the various tiers of local government to address those concerns. Given that commitment to cooperation, we hope to sidestep many of the inefficiencies and obstacles that might otherwise exist. The swift completion of Fiber for the Communities and its successful implementation will color all of our efforts and help to ensure the achievement of our shared goals. The City of Kansas City is also committed to working with Google in attaining any county, state, and public utilities commission assistance that may be necessary, depending on the specifics of this important project.
Through the institution of a streamlined and dedicated approach to the regulatory issues faced by this project, the City of Kansas City hopes to make its partnership with Google one of the key features cited for Fiber for the Communities’ eventual success.
Leveraging Current Local Broadband Assets and Projects
The Kansas City, Mo., Department of Public Works has completed the fiber network in downtown (Central Business district) within highway loop. The network includes 48 stands fiber count at 1102 Grand Boulevard. In addition, Main Street Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) provides fiber connection along Main between 51st Street and Truman Road. A new fiber line along Troost between downtown and 39th Street is under construction. The line will be extended to Volker Boulevard under Green Zone Project in approximately 12 months. Operation Green Light (OGL) is working on the fiber connection along Volker Boulevard. The fund has been secured for a fiber project on Ward Parkway. The City is also designing fiber routes on Independence Boulevard and Southwest Trafficway. The City anticipates approximately 25 miles of fiber line will be completed in 18 months. Attached is the map showing the detailed fiber network information.
As the City builds the network, the City would like to explore the opportunities to work with Party and execute mutual benefit agreements by providing convenience for private fiber construction within public right of way. The City also has intention to sharing the City’s fiber network with interested Party. In return, the Party can build one or several critical connections for the City. In view of amount of network gaps within the City, the City does realize it is possible that the City has to enter agreements with more than one Party. Therefore, it is very important that the interested Party shall show the spirit of corporation.
Scope of Agreement
It is the City’s understanding that Party has intention to construct fiber routes along the City’s streets to build its own communication network. It has resources to fill network gaps for the City.
b. Potential City’s offering:
Provide no cost excavation permit for any sites and routes within the right of way of the City;
Provide no cost traffic control permit;
Provide opportunity to build fiber lines within the City’s public right of way;
Share the City’s existing “dark” fiber lines;
Provide access to the City’s future fiber lines/routes;
Provide fiber access at 1102 Grand Boulevard with direct connection from the intersection of Brooklyn and Independence Boulevard and many other points shown in the attached map.
c. Potential Party’s Offering (listed by the City’s priorities):
1. Construct fiber line between 5310 Municipal Avenue and the intersection of Missouri Highway 210 and Chouteau Trafficway;
2. Construct fiber line between 4721 Coal Mine Road and the intersection of Swope Parkway and Blue Parkway;
3. Construct fiber line on Barry between I-29 and N. Oak Trafficway;
4. Construct fiber line on N. Oak Trafficway between N. 32nd Street and Barry Road;
5. Construct fiber from I-435 at 4800 E. 63rd Street.
6. KCI Airport Route - from Barry Road to Line Creek Parkway to Tiffany Springs Road to N. Childress to KCI property.
The Information Technology Department (ITD) of the City of Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO) is engaged in several projects which relate to Google’s Fiber to the home in a collaborative and cooperative way. ITD has submitted on behalf of the City of Kansas City, Missouri a proposal response to the Department of Commerce Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) Middle Mile Broadband initiative. It is anticipated that if KCMO is awarded the BTOP Grant, Google’s Fiber to the home could utilize this high speed infrastructure to traverse all of Kansas City, Missouri. KCMO is also an active partner in the Mid America Regional Council (MARC) initiative to provide a fiber backbone for the region. This would provide access for Google Fiber in the metropolitan area. Lastly, KCMO is an active partner in the Kansas City Digital Communities (KCDC) coalition initiative to provide Public Computing Centers and a Sustainable Broadband Adoption program to the greater Kansas City area. Members of the KCDC in Kansas City libraries and other vital resources insuring a richness of content and interaction we feel is unparalleled anywhere.
The Kansas City Digital Communities (KCDC) BTOP 2 submittal for Public Computer Centers and Sustainable Broadband Adoption, if funded by Department of Commerce / NTIA, would provided $6.7 million in ARRA federal funds to expand Public Computer Centers capacity and $4 million to implement a Sustainable Broadband Adoption program in the Kansas City area.
The Kansas City Digital Communities Coalition is comprised of the Kansas City Public Library; Mid-Continent Public Library, City of Kansas City Park & Recreation Community Centers, Kansas City Housing Authority Neighborhood Networks, Kansas City Metropolitan Community College, and One Economy in Kansas City.
These proposals offers a broad community-based solution to increase public computing capacity and stimulate broadband adoption among low income and predominantly urban neighborhoods through the Public Libraries, Metropolitan Community College, Parks & Recreation Community Centers and Public Housing Neighborhood Network sites. These are logical centers for public computing and broadband access as well as adoption. Taken together, these institutions weave a mosaic of hope through these distressed areas of the city by offering:
Creating physical digital access points to increase capacity
Strategic placement of digital access points throughout the city for ease of access and on bus routes, given that this might be the only means of transportation for individuals needing services.
Aggregation of content to provide one-stop shop access.
Coordination of efforts to eliminate duplication and take advantage of each others‘ strengths.
Increased capacity in libraries to meet the demand.
Expanded broadband access to the home and the knowledge to fully use it.
As part of Kansas City Digital Communities (KCDC), these partners will lead a carefully integrated community-based strategy which will increase public computing access while promoting understanding and usage of high-speed broadband services. An aggressive outreach effort will go beyond existing users of community centers, public libraries, and residents of public housing units to reach a larger segment of the vulnerable communities targeted by BTOP.
This public center / library centric-based project will include existing Library facilities at nine KCPL branches and 2 MCPL branches; 10 Community Centers/five Library-to-Go sites; three Housing Authority sites and five MCC centers with one mobile lab – a total of 30 facilities & projected unduplicated users of 355,000+. The work at these sites will be closely coordinated with KCDC partner One Economy, which is implementing two years free, home-based Broadband access and adoption program at nine affordable or low-income multi-family housing properties in excess of 2,000 units. The KCDC believes that access is only a means to an end; it is less relevant if people cannot connect to content that they can use to raise their standard of living.
The following is an example of our approach & opportunity in Kansas City, Missouri:
The innovative aspects of the KCDC project are best understood by looking at a specific project which will benefit. Villa del Sol, located at 20th Street & West Pennway, was HUD’s first successful development of mixed-finance, mixed-income public housing. Completed in 1998, it is comprised of 25 market-rate and 65 public housing units each with one- to three-bedrooms, a washer/dryer and unit alarm system. BTOP Round One funding awarded to One Economy will give public housing residents free access to home-based broadband for two years. The necessary component for successful use and long term adoption will be to educate these new users on how to get the most out of their broadband opportunity. This proposal allows for this to happen at both the Tony Aguirre Community Center and the Irene H. Ruiz Library branch – both a short walk from Villa del Sol. Broadband education, awareness, training, access, equipment and support will all be readily available to a population in need.
Our unique collaborative approach answers the need stated above. KCDC partners have chosen to pursue seamless connectivity to broadband, first by upgrading public centers then by educating users on how to take full advantage of the technology. The conventional approach would call for each organization designing a technology plan to suit its needs and those of its customers. KCDC partners have recognized they have many common customers, but more importantly that the community has a common need, and have joined the effort to meet it. Blending goals, outreach and budgetary lines is not a typical approach and certainly hasn’t been considered in a city with as many dividing lines as this one. Despite that, KCDC has elicited commitment from all partners to leverage their resources, which leads to a greater chance of sustainability. Together KCDC is building a culture of use which will help put all Kansas City residents on a level playing field.
Announcement of the BTO Round 2 awards will be made on a rolling basis starting June 2010, with all awarded by September 30, 2010.
A Citizens Response: From an Reticent Observer
On February 10th, you released a terse video on the one gig fiber proposal. Those pixels were soon absorbed by Kansas City resident Tom Ruddy. Individuals being shown that clip from his computer also got an impassioned discourse of why K.C. is indeed the place for this ‘next great thing.’ With conviction, Tom voiced, “It can better our country, help fix this city, and KC can make it happen!” Playing ‘devil’s advocate’ proved to be short lived for; The website flashed up shockingly quick. Nightly calls from Tom told of breakthrough meetings occurring at a breakneck pace. “The City is on-board by way of resolution!” he soon reported. To this day, not one evening has been devoid of impressive developments. The message is clear; Ruddy and the rest of the growing GoogleKC contingency will not stop vying for your consideration until we’re told; “you will not be coming here.” From what I’ve witnessed in a short amount of time; we are not just a good choice, we’re an incredible choice! There is no pausing, as March 26th is being viewed by GoogleKC to be the real start to the process.
Early on, in the epicenter of the modern Power & Light district, the first press conference occurred. A handful of newly acquired supporters timorously stepped up to the microphone. But communicating to the press in layman’s terms proved difficult, as the group simply needed more input to further understand the numerous facets surrounding the proposed. Like fishing, the press was nibbling but not biting. “Proof of ground swelling activity,” according to one reporter, was the requirement for real coverage.
Shortly after, I was invited to a meeting downtown at the new ‘GoogleKC’ headquarters. On the drive there, images of three people getting together to sip coffee and day dream were in my head. Walking in, thirty folk were seated at a very long table sprawled with laptops. Educational entities, film folk, engineers, programmers, business leaders, and a bevy of other various community segments conjured up the saying, “all walks of life.” There was no arguing or outbursts at any time. Gimmicky promotional natter was passed in lieu of focused feasibility. It was downright serious!
For a while, those not versed in ‘technical’ talk were given a real schooling by engineering types saying “Oh sure, we micro-trench.” Software people expounding on ‘cloud computing and killer apps; making it seem like ‘bread and butter’ talk to those speaking. At the end of this particular meeting, a lady with a local school district said, “You know, there sure are a lot of poets in this town.” I paused in waiting for the connection. “The poets of today have switched to the language of programming.” Now that’s a novel way to put it!
Novelty aside, educational leaders of Kansas City talked about how closing a whopping 25+ schools was the ‘tooth that had to be pulled.’ They projected the manner Kansas City educates our youth is soon to change in the most dramatic of ways. Closing those schools will free up resources to develop and promote an increased focus on an internet supported education. They were talking with their minds wide open, turning what many perceive as a negative, into real positive. All present could feel that inspiration.
The GoogleKC meetings were held every few days. Eventually, we were divided up into teams to further formulate the plan, digest the technical aspects of the RFI, and focus the raw talents present. Personally, I gravitated to the loud film guy and his team of ‘talkers.’
Our whole group was continually told, “Were going to meet with these people, that other one dude, and shoot this and that.” Daydream visions of producing segments that could generate public reactions were lofty. Weeks went by and I eventually surmised, “The only thing those guys are going to deliver, will be a letdown.”
Having majored in film for stint, I kept my role as observer by shutting my mouth. Frankly, I’ve seen copious similar situations failing to produce anything.
At our final group meeting, they arrived visibly exhausted, with CD’s in hand. Days later, I’m still munching my words. Three quality segments no less! Work like that takes productions companies months, not weeks. The focus of generating Facebook fans was shunted as quality of promotional materials, and civic based progress took precedence. Should the number of ‘faces’ ride above the technical know-how as a critical component to your decision, the group is now better equipped to garner increased response. I bet those nightly calls and daily website content updates will result in amplified progress and awareness as the effort continues. The presses will eventually spill a few barrels of ink as awareness intensifies.
Today, the GoogleKC assembly has an increased understanding regarding the power of the new fiber tool you offer. If you believe the film work to be impressive, just wait until you meet Richard Usher. Your singular point of contact with Kansas City is your North Star in a sky full of lights. It was impressive how he commanded the focus of GoogleKC. Richard is highly likely to ensure the installment of the technology at a new civic speed of ‘gig.’ The very first thing he said to me was the sobering reality that even more work will be necessary to responsibly follow through properly. He and the entire GoogleKC effort will ensure the new tool realizes its full potential, rather than sitting in a theoretical garage collecting dust.
Coming full circle, Tom Ruddy indicated the need to write Google a thank you letter for our city has been activated. In thinking about it, I’m not sure who-should-be-thanking-who anymore.
Writing proudly behalf of the entire, and tireless, GoogleKC team -
Timothy L. O’Neal