Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.


We saw Google announce Kansas City as the first recipient of their 1GB Fiber-network initiative this week.

This initiative will see Kansas City internet access skyrocket to 1GB per second, that’s 500 times faster than the global average. Compare it to New Zealand’s current stats and you start to get an overall picture of what a sad a state of affairs our broadband is in. This new government initiative should give us a kick in the right direction but looks like we’ll still be miles away from touching our mates from the heart of America.

Kansas City was among the many in the US who submitted their city to play the guinea pig for this ultra fast internet experiment. Cities and towns all over america went to great lengths to convince Google to pick them, with another small city in Kansas state even renaming itself “Google” for the day.

So why Kansas City? The team at Google explain their reason in a blog post:

In selecting a city, our goal was to find a location where we could build efficiently, make an impact on the community and develop relationships with local government and community organizations. We’ve found this in Kansas City. We’ll be working closely with local organizations including the Kauffman Foundation, KCNext and the University of Kansas Medical Center to help develop the gigabit applications of the future.”

New Zealand is ranked 47th in world with download speeds of 7.08 mps. Not bad for a small country with a relatively tiny population and limited resources. But we’re still operating in megabit, Google’s is Gigabit, so it’s hard to fathom how fast it’s going to be and what economy-boosting commercial opportunities such high speed data moving could present.

Google is a global company and personally I think this should have been a global initiative. I think New Zealand would have had a good chance at being in the running and it would’ve been a welcome addition to mix with the work-in-progress fiber the government is building. Especially given that Google is making it a share access, which mean ISPs can use its network. Nothing like a bit of friendly competition I say.

Regardless of the could’ve/should’ves, we’ll be watching with interest as the fibre starts rolling out across Kansas City. It looks like Dorothy’s feeling might have been right after all, Kansas may not be the same again.


[H/T Google, Mashable and Techcrunch]

Editor in Chief at here SMNZ, I have a passion for social and digital media. When not writing and managing SMNZ I am the Head of Innovation at TAG The Agency, a digital ad agency and the Head of Sales and Marketing for End-Game, a software development agency. I'm also involved with a number of startups and I am always keen to support those that are bold enough to give things a go. Start something, better to try than to live wondering what if...

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