February 16, 2018

Successful Gigabit Campaign Brings Blazing Internet Service to Kansas City Libraries

Google’s entry into the Internet provider business in Kansas City, KS, and Kansas City, MO, is moving ahead, thanks to a last-minute rally by community groups earlier this month that will enable about 89 percent of both cities to access the service – including many public libraries and schools.

The cities were chosen by Google in the spring of 2011 to be the installation sites for a new high speed fiber optic network, which allows Internet users to download and upload files at up to 1 gigabit per second. As part of the deal, Google agreed to provide free high speed Internet access to about 400 public buildings selected by the city mayors if a certain percentage of residents in surrounding neighborhoods showed interest in the service and paid a $10 pre-registration fee.

Registration started in July with Google Fiber offering one-year packages of $70 a month for high speed Internet, $120 a month for TV and Internet, and a $300 package for regular Internet service for up to seven years.

A total of 180 out of 202 neighborhoods qualified for service by the September 9 pre-registration deadline, according to the Kansas City Star and the Google fiber blog. Google Fiber service will start to roll out in Kansas City, KS, in October while Kansas City, MO, neighborhoods will start hook ups next spring, according to the Google blog.

In Kansas City, KS, four out of five public libraries, 33 elementary schools, eight middle schools, and five high school libraries will be connected to Google Fiber, Carol Levers, the Kansas City, KS, Public Library director, wrote in an email.  All of the neighborhoods served by these libraries and schools met their signup goals as well, she wrote.

The library is excited about conversations that community leaders and community-based organizations will be having with Google regarding digital literacy and connectivity, Levers said in her email. There are also plans to expand the library’s digital programs and enhance interaction with other libraries by using the new service. Last fall, the library launched the K-20 Librarian Initiative, a consortium of several public, academic and school libraries working to make the Internet more accessible and share educational and cultural programs.

Library officials notified vendors about the future fiber hookup to get potential cost estimates for connection to buildings, and they are being careful in making commitments pending more information from Google, Levers wrote.

In Kansas City, MO, all eight of the public libraries within the city limits will be connected as well, according to Cheptoo Kositany, the library’s deputy director.

Facts Matter: Information Literacy for the Real World
Libraries and news organizations are joining forces in a variety of ways to promote news literacy, create innovative community programming, and help patrons/students identify misinformation. This online course will teach you how to partner with local news organizations to promote news literacy through a range of programs—including a citizen journalism hub at your library.