Ever since Google chose Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., in 2011 to debut Google Fiber, its coveted gigabit fiber network, the project has been watched by cities across the nation. Now an A-team of government leaders is expanding the network’s community impact and passing on what they’ve learned to other local leaders.
The team includes Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Sly James; former Kansas City, Kan., Mayor Joseph Reardon; and co-chairs of the Mayors’ Bistate Innovations Team, Mike Burke and Ray Daniels. Since the Google Fiber network’s inception, the four-man team has remained a hallmark of how technology can spur community improvement.
The team’s efforts to support “fiber to the home” helped pave the way for the two cities to become co-hosts for a 2013 Code for America fellowship. The program resulted in several civic tech initiatives, including a new Internet education app called BizFriend.ly and a Wikipedia-style site, WikiKC, for community collaboration.
The team also collaborated on a working playbook for other cities planning to launch gigabit networks. The digital booklet, called Playing to Win in America’s Digital Crossroads, has become an evolving template for cities harnessing high-speed connections. The hope is that the document will help unify communities and improve education and economic growth through technology.
As more communities implement gigabit networks, it’s likely this tech-savvy team will be a go-to source of support.