Little Willie Littlefield first performed the song Kansas City in that city in 1952 at the Orchid Room at 12th and Vine Streets. As the lyrics go, Little Willie was on his way there to find a local female companion and quite determined to make the trip. The song was very popular and created a buzz about the city at the time that likely incited others to travel there as well.
In 2013, 61 years later, Kansas City is buzzing once again, but this time it is not a song about access to “crazy little women” that is causing the stir. It is about access to the Internet. It is even more so about access to the growing start-up company scene, or just becoming a part of something that is about to take off while the basis is still near zero. This modern-day digital Gold Rush is music to the ears of the people of Kansas City.
With the advent of Google (News - Alert) Fiber’s deployment in Kansas City, Kan., and Mo., of fiber to the home and the delivery of 1gbps speeds of Internet access for $70 (which equates to $0.07 per megabit!) several very interesting developments have occurred. Media attention about the fiber build has led to more media attention about the demand for 1-gigabit Internet access speeds. A component of that demand is coming from business requirements and specifically start-up businesses operating primarily, if not exclusively, on the Internet and on a tight budget. This has led to real estate demand for homes in the now famous and nouveau tech-trendy Hanover Heights section of Kansas City, Kan., which was the first Google Fiber “fiberhood” in the area, by these start-up businesses as well as entrepreneurs seeking to incubate start-ups. People are coming to Kansas City!
The equation being implemented here is sound and replicable. It is similar to a recipe for a great meal. On the surface it seems simple enough, but there are clear definitions to the formula and a sequence that must be followed in order for it to succeed. The key point is that this is not speculation as this concoction has already produced a desired result – an investment in fiber that brings low-cost and truly high-speed Internet access drives economic growth.
At a local level the investment has positively impacted real estate pricing and demand as well as improved the tax base, which is what all local governments seek. Over time the recipe, if properly administered and adhered to, will have a positive impact on the growth of the gross domestic product and overall productivity of the country. It is time to stop debating and doubting if these types of fiber networks will have a positive impact on the economy and get on to building them. If not, Kansas City probably will not mind so much. People will just keep going there to access what they cannot find anywhere else – the most affordable, high-speed access to success.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi