TKC SUNDAY SPECIAL!!! COWTOWN COST ANALYSIS: KANSAS CITY COULD BRIDGE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE FOR LESS THAN THE PRICE OF THE TOY TRAIN STREETCAR!!!
TKC NOTE: Right now we want to feature an INSPIRED Sunday special comment that not only weighs local priorities or lack thereof but also offers data to back up opinion.
Accordingly . . .
CHECK THIS SUNDAY KANSAS CITY COST ANALYSIS OF GOOGLE FIBER VS. THE TOY TRAIN STREETCAR!!!
Special thanks to this EDUCATED AND TRUSTED TKC READER offering insight into the Internets future of this town and news that we are sadly on track to relive the past with old school rail instead of focusing on new communication tech.
Digital Divide Solution
Regarding the work of Connecting for Good and their goal of bridging the digital divide in Kansas City, it is a good goal. The digital divide is the "Troost" of our time. Bridging it can be cycle-breaker providing access to educational, job, communication and life opportunities otherwise unavailable. But there is a faster and better way than the slow and tedious process of refurbishing old computers and setting up small wifi hotspots one small neighborhood at a time.
For less than the price of half a mile of streetcar extension, Kansas City, Missouri could provide every household below the poverty line with a brand-new new Google Chromebook and 7-years of Google Fiber service.
How am I coming up with this? Google will connect a household and provide 7 years worth of service for $300. Chromebooks are about $300 as well. So that's $600 per household. According to the 2010 US Census, there are 221,860 total housing units in KCMO and 18.8% of people live below the poverty level. That's 41,710 homes x $600 or a little over $25 million. Half a mile of streetcar extension is more than $30 million. Ask the people of the urban core which would bring them the most benefit and opportunity - half a mile of streetcar track miles away or the world brought to their home.
Now obviously the math above is not exact, but it's likely not that far off. In fact, KCMO could provide Google Fiber to every household in the city limits regardless of income for the same price as a mile of track. If we're trying to be the city that attracts innovators, which is more attractive, a city of over 300 square miles that puts in a couple of miles of century old transportation technology or a city that provides state-of-the-art internet connectivity to every citizen?
It's even better than free trash bags. Remember those?