Overland Park & Leawood

October 15, 2013

Google seeks indefinite delay on Overland Park agreement

The corporation’s attempt to bring Google Fiber to the city has not been easy.

Google Fiber won’t be coming to Overland Park any time soon.

In a request that surprised the council on Monday evening, a legal representative for Google asked for an indefinite continuance regarding a proposed agreement to bring the super high-speed Internet to the city. The council granted the request.

When asked about the reasoning behind the indefinite continuance, Google spokesperson Jenna Wandres said it all came down to delays.

“Building Fiber is complicated and we have very tight time windows for our construction work,” Wandres said in an interview. “We’ve worked with Overland Park for a number of months now, and we need to refocus our energy and resources on engineering, designing, and building a new fiber network for the communities who are waiting for Fiber.”

Clearly, the corporation’s attempt to bring Google Fiber to Overland Park has not been easy.

In the proposed agreement for Overland Park, which is identical to the one recently passed by Lenexa, Google states it intends to create a fiber network capable of Internet speeds up to one gigabit per second within the city. It may also provide a WiFi network and free service in public facilities, such as schools and libraries.

But when the agreement was presented to the council last month, several council members were confused about an indemnity clause it contained.

They told Google representatives at the Sept. 16 meeting that they wanted changes to be made or questions to be answered. After interrupting that meeting for 30 minutes, the Google representatives came back and asked for a continuance until Oct. 14.

In the past month, however, the council’s questions and concerns about indemnity were answered, council members said. They were ready to approve the agreement at its meeting Monday night and move forward, council members said.

“It is my belief that the city had legitimate and significant concerns relating to indemnity,” said Councilman Terry Goodman. “It is also my belief that these concerns have been satisfactorily mitigated. As long as the agreements remain the same as those previously approved by the city and Google, there are no other issues remaining to be resolved.”

But now, because of the indefinite continuance, the ball is in Google’s court.

“We are ready to sign the agreement and are waiting on Google,” said Councilman Dave Janson.

When that will be, however, is unclear.

“In a case where the conditions aren’t right to build, we keep in touch with the city in hopes of finding a way to come back in the future,” Wandres said.

As a gesture of good faith at its meeting Monday night, after granting the indefinite continuance, the council approved a resolution supporting Google Fiber coming to Overland Park.

The council hopes it will show Google, and the public, that they truly want to bring the high-speed Internet to the city.

“I felt it was important that the City Council publicly state what has always been our enthusiastic and unanimous support for Google deploying in Overland Park,” said Goodman, who made the motion.

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