Google 0, Rosedale 1.
By MARY SANCHEZ
The Kansas City Star
One point is deserved for an enterprising effort, even if the technology giant wont allow it.
Google Inc. nixed the idea of the Kansas City, Kan., community of Rosedale, which is still intent on spreading high-speed Internet access to the neediest and least digitally connected of its residents.
The plan was devised by the Rosedale Development Association and Connecting for Good, a Kansas City nonprofit. Their idea was to use Googles promise to make the Kansas City area the first place to get Google Fiber. The group envisioned splicing the service and parceling out access, so those with less ability to pay would be charged less and those who could pay more would do so, and receive faster access.
Unless youre a capitalist, which Google most certainly is. Late last week, Google said no.
Google, after all, is a business, not a charity. And the plan would have undercut that basic business concept of controlling the product. Rosedales supporters understand. And theyre still talking with Google officials.
Still, theres something unsettling about the technology giant tamping down the first innovative plan for its new service. Especially when the idea hit on one of Googles goals; spreading access to underserved areas.
A Google study found that 17 percent of Kansas Citians are not online at all, and 8 percent are using dial-up or slow wireless connections. Rosedales intention was to help close such digital divides, especially with children.
For a company promising lightning-speed technology, Google seems to be dragging its feet. Its been more than a year since the grand plan was announced to bring Google Fiber to Kansas City.
Recall the rollout: Lots of hype, lots of promise and excitement.
A few hiccups were inevitable. But the service was to start earlier this year. Now were told summer will bring a big announcement.
Oh, were still grateful. No one wants to offend Google, lest they yank our access.
The delays make one wonder if something might have been worked out for Rosedale, if things had been in place on Googles end. That could still happen, especially as more people find out about their innovative idea.
Rosedale is the little community that could. Its small, four square miles. Many people know it more for one business the tasty Rosedale Bar-B-Q than anything else.
But it is a vibrant community, populated by some of the most dedicated and savvy community activists and volunteers around. Just ask Google.
To reach Mary Sanchez, call 816-234-4752 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.