Google Fiber Puts Kansas Schools In A Bind

Google is rapidly approaching the September 9 deadline it imposed on residents of Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri to pre-register for Google Fiber, the company’s new ultra high-speed Internet and TV service, which Google claims will be “100 times faster” than current broadband connections offered by the likes of Time Warner and Comcast.

But after early promising signs of interest among residents of the Kansas City metropolitan area (located on the Missouri-Kansas border, most of it located on the Missouri side), it appears that Google Fiber is getting tangled up in long-simmering socioeconomic tensions in the area. Local newspapers, including the Kansas City Star are pointing out that the way Google is planning to distribute the service — based on how many households pre-register in given neighborhoods up until September 9 — could actually exacerbate the “digital divide,” between wealthier neighborhoods, many of which are located on the Kansas City, Missouri, side, and poorer ones concentrated in Kansas City, Kansas.

While many schools are eager to be connected to Google Fiber, school officials say that the company is putting them in a tough spot — forcing them to choose whether or not to accept only having some schools, generally the more affluent ones, linked-up to the new gigabit-speed Internet service.

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