Crony Tech: Did Google get a Sweetheart Deal to Develop the Kansas City Google Fiber Network?

It appears that they likely did.

Google said they wanted to build a network in a medium sized city, and communities all over America begged Google to make them a test case. But there can be only one winner—Sorry Rancho Cucamonga—and Kansas City won. Given that their football team is the Chiefs and baseball team the Royals, KC deserved to win something. So congrats.

But at ARS Technica Timothy B. Lee rightly identifies that Google has been subsidized by the city (and its taxpayers) to expand there. He however comes to the wrong  conclusion in my opinion, and that is that subsidies may be necessary to develop widespread superfast broadband networks.

If that is so then why have Internet speeds exploded over the last 10 years without such subsidies? The network I operate on is blazingly fast and next year it will likely be even more blazingly fast. By the time Google Fiber is built out in Kansas City my bet is that many places in America will have approached and even passed the speeds experienced by Google Fiber users. From what I see it looks like Google has leveraged its brand reputation as an innovator to get into the ISP business at low cost (taxpayer funded).

Perhaps I’m missing something in my reading about Google Fiber. I am sure it’s amazing. I am sure it delivers a high quality product, perhaps the highest in the industry. But is it so advanced that we the taxpayer need to offer special incentives to a company so that it can build the front end (the expensive part) of a very long tail business with our money?

Click here for Lee’s article.