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Austin Loses Google's Ultra-Fast Broadband Project To Kansas City

Kansas City, Kansas beat out 1,100 cities to host Google's gigabit internet project.
Photo by Airtuna08
Kansas City, Kansas beat out 1,100 cities to host Google's gigabit internet project.

We can still haggle over who has the better barbeque, but Kansas City, Kansas will indisputably have faster internet service in the very near future. Google has chosen KCK for its ultra high-speed broadband project. From the official Google blog:

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.

But the home of South by Southwest did make the shortlist, according Chip Rosenthal. He's a co-founder of Big Gig Austin, a community effort that hoped to bring Google's fiber project to this city.

"They were very interested in Austin," Rosenthal told KUT News. "Out of 1,100 cities across the nation, Austin was identified as a shortlist opportunity. There were discussions, and even a site visit."

Rosenthal says they don't know what tipped Google towards Kansas City, but he says they would like to look into that and evaluate Austin's strengths and weaknesses in the competition.

"Believe me, Google isn't the end of desire for gigabit fiber in Austin," he said. "As a community, we need to move forward and make broadband happen."

Google is promising to provide affordable, direct-to-home internet connections of one gigabit per second. That's about 125 megabytes per second, or fast enough to download a DVD in about half a minute.

Here's a video from Google announcing the decision and celebrating broadband in general.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.
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