The digital divide in Kansas City appears to be alive and well despite Google's best efforts, as recent reports from the Kansas City Star indicate that the search giant's ultra-fast Google Fiber service might not come to poorer neighborhoods anytime soon.
Google is determining which areas will be wired for fiber access based on pre-registrations. So far, the newspaper reports, there's an evident class divide between areas slated for fiber and those with insufficient apparent interest.
"Even a cursory glance at the map showing which neighborhoods are likely to get Google Fiber — more than 80 have met Google's requirements — shows a strong correlation between rich and poor Kansas City," the Star says, adding that areas which miss out on becoming Google "fiberhoods" won't see the service deployed to public buildings like schools and libraries.
Several residents told the newspaper of their concern that, rather than providing better Internet access for everyone, Google Fiber could actually widen the digital divide.
Community leaders in some areas are pushing residents to pre-register, in the hopes of ensuring that Google Fiber is made available to their neighborhood's public buildings. The deadline for the all-important pre-registrations is Sept. 9.
Google gave the public service aspects of its fiber project high billing during its initial announcement, but the absence of the technology in less wealthy areas could undermine that altruistic image.