One thing that worked mightily to KCK’s advantage was the city’s aging infrastructure, Milo Medin, the Google vice president in charge of the project, said as we chatted after the announcement.
Most modern, suburban communities today bury their utility lines. That’s also the case in the newer parts of Kansas City, Kan., he said.
But a large number of the Kansas City, Kan., Board of Public Utilities’ 70,000 customers get their electricity via an overhead line, Medin said, and at that his eyes lit up.
It’s expensive to bury cable, he said. But Google can hang much of its fiber cable from the BPU’s power poles at a great savings to the company and with a minimum of disruption to homeowners and businesses.
Add to that the fact that KCK’s underground lines are encased in conduit that also can accommodate Google’s wiring. (Not all utilities put their wires in pipes.)
The result: Fewer yards will have to be dug up than might be the case in other cities.
“A lot of issues came to the fore, but one of them was the way our utility is set up,” BPU spokesman David Mehlhaff told me.
A practical question from the start was, What can you do for Google? (nice of him to kick the Triad when we're down).
Ease and cost of buildout were logical considerations. Looks like KCK was able to check a few important boxes. GSO played this card, too, and I think we had something to offer.
Maybe we're still in the running for a hinted-at second site. KCK seems to have impressed with its institutional support. It would be great to see Greensboro's businesses and non-profits fully engaged with a broadband project, whether it's brought by Google or cooked up closer to home.