Google Fiber and Race in Kansas City

By Deane Barker on September 10, 2012

In One City, Signing Up for Internet Becomes a Civic Cause: Google’s offer to wire neighborhoods in Kansas City for fiber access is having some racial ramifications.  Predominantly black neighborhoods on Kansas City’s east side had trouble getting enough people signed up to reach the required threshold.

In some neighborhoods, residents feared that if the service were unavailable in their communities, property values would drop and their schools and hospitals may fall further behind those in affluent areas. Businesses that rely on technology might shun their communities, they said, denying them jobs and economic development opportunities.

“It’s just one more step to the east side not being able to compete with the west,” […] During the sign-up, Google faced other practical problems. Many people did not have credit or debit cards, which were required to register, or e-mail addresses.