Overland Park, Kan. Appears Set to Sign on for Google Fiber

The City Council is set to allow Google Fiber to install network huts on city-owned property and permit the company to use the city’s existing fiber network conduit.

by Glenn E. Rice, McClatchy News Service / July 7, 2014

Well, it appears that Google Fiber will finally arrive in Overland Park.

At its meeting Monday evening, the City Council is poised to approve two agreements that would allow the California-based tech giant to bring super-high-speed Internet to the city. The proposals are similar to ones presented last September, but action on those was delayed.

“Everything appears to be in order. We have been ready to deal with Google for several months now, so I am looking forward to it,” said Councilman David White. “We’ve wanted it all along, and if this can be pulled off it will be a good thing for Overland Park and for the citizens. I think they will all be happy.”

The company did not respond Saturday to efforts to confirm it had a deal with Overland Park. Google typically does not comment until after a deal passes a city council.

Under one of the agreements, Overland Park would allow Google Fiber to install network huts on city-owned property. This would enable Google Fiber to string its fiber-optic lines to neighborhoods throughout the city.

The second agreement would permit Google Fiber to use the city’s existing fiber network conduit.

Google Fiber asked Overland Park to place the separate agreements on Monday’s City Council agenda, city spokesman Sean Reilly said.

Google and Overland Park officials had struck a preliminary deal last fall. Then on the evening it was set for a vote, some council members posed a few questions about liability issues. That prompted Google officials to ask for a delay in the vote.

At the next meeting, the council had put aside its concerns and was eager to vote for the Google deal in its original form. But Google walked away — surprising the council and city staff.

That move was seen by industry analysts as the tech giant sending a signal. Cities desperately wanted the broadband speed and high-tech cachet of Google Fiber. But Google would rather go elsewhere than put up with too much local regulation — even in what would appear to be the most lucrative part of the Kansas City market.

In fact, Google is now examining expanding its broadband service to nine other American markets and figures to say which ones it will pursue by year’s end. Among the key things the company has asked for at each location is a streamlining of construction regulations.

Google had also said it was putting off talks with Overland Park and other Kansas City suburbs, such as Independence, until it had made more progress finishing work in Kansas City. The company has said it expects installations there to be done by year’s end.

“It is the latest technology, and I think given the desire of the community to have access to high-speed fiber, it is an important addition to the city,” said Councilman Terry Goodman.

©2014 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)