Soon to be in metro Atlanta, Google fiber has benefited other cities

By David Pendered

Based on the experience of other cities where Google has installed high-speed Internet cable, Atlanta’s entrepreneurial community could gain a great deal of momentum.

Google fiber optics

Google posted this map of the cities that are to receive fiber optic cable. Credit: fiber.google.com

Consider Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas City was one of the first cities where Google installed cable that transports data at up to 10 times the speed of traditional copper lines, in 2012.

Google announced Wednesday that it intends to install fiber optics in the city of Atlanta, and eight surrounding cities, as part of its expansion in the South – adding the regions of Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham. The other cities are Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, College Park, Decatur, East Point, Hapeville, Sandy Springs, and Smyrna.

Just this month, a report in the Kansas City Business Journal provided this description of the economic development results attributed to Google’s fiber optic cable:

  • “It’s helped to sprout dozens of startups, boost business development, generate buzz in Kansas City and compelled other Internet providers to up their services. And it’s also why [Kelly Carnago, a top Google exec] pounced at the prospect to lead the gigabit network in her hometown: to further its positive ripples through the area.”
Google fiber installation vehicle

Google released this image of the types of vehicles that will install fiber optic cable in Atlanta and eight surrounding cities. Credit: google

In a report published in December, the KCBJ provided this comment from Mike Burke, a co-chairman of the Mayor’s Bi-State Innovation Team:

  • “Speed alone doesn’t get you where you need to go. But it does create an atmosphere where it energizes an entrepreneurial and tech community and, in some cases, an education community. That’s what Google’s done, in large part, for Kansas City. It’s energized us.”

Kansas City already had a good bit of energy.

The region is half-way through a seven-year development program developed in 2011 by members of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

The program was named Five Big Ideas. Some of the ideas are similar to those Atlanta’s civic leaders cultivate:

  • Google fiber optics cities, plans

    Metro Atlanta is among the four southeast regions where Google is installing fiber optics. Credit: google

    Renew the urban core;

  • Promote the KC Animal Health Corridor, said to be the world’s largest concentration of animal health interests;
  • Foster entrepreneurs;
  • Promote the KC Regional Translational Research Institute, which translates medical research into medical practices.
  • Enhance the arts community by relocating the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance to a downtown site, near the existing Kauffman Performing Arts center and the Crossroads Arts District.

UMKC is a strong supporter of the Five Big Ideas program, according to Chancellor Leo Morton.

In addition to partnering on the urban renewal of a 30-block blighted community, the university is focusing resources on medical and transformational research, entrepreneurship, and relocating the conservatory, Morton wrote on the university’s website.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed expects Google fiber service will yield similar benefits in the Atlanta region. Reed said in a statement:

  • “Google Fiber is the infrastructure for the next generation of innovation in Atlanta. High-speed internet access is essential to participate in the 21st century economy. In addition to supporting our thriving tech and startup communities, Google Fiber will bring greater economic opportunities to every quadrant of the City, so that the next great business idea is just as likely to come from Southwest Atlanta as it is from any other neighborhood.”

 

 

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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