Gig Bits: Mayors’ task force unveils ‘playbook,’ Fiber timetable delayed

Nearly two months have passed since the last installment of our Gig Bits series. That gap in coverage can be explained, in part, by the fact that it's been all quiet on the Fiber front — at least from Google's side, anyway. The Kansas City Star reported earlier this month that the timetable for Fiber

Mike Burke (standing) of the Mayors’ Bistate Innovations Team presents at a May 22 meeting as Kansas City, Mo. mayor Sly James (second from left) and others look on. 

Nearly two months have passed since the last installment of our Gig Bits series. That gap in coverage can be explained, in part, by the fact that it’s been all quiet on the Fiber front — at least from Google’s side, anyway.

The Kansas City Star reported earlier this month that the timetable for Fiber has been pushed back from Google’s onetime deadline of June 30. “We’ll have an announcement about Google Fiber this summer,” a Google spokeswoman told the Star.

But while Mountain View’s been mostly mum on the project in recent weeks, Kansas City — or, specifically, the area’s Mayors’ Bistate Innovations Team (MBIT) — has had plenty to say of late about Google Fiber. On May 22, the the MBIT released a 37-page document, “Playing to Win in America’s Digital Crossroads,” which it touts as the beta version of a playbook for capitalizing on high speed fiber in the Kansas City area.  

Mike Burke and Ray Daniels are the co-chairs of the MBIT, a task force created last summer by Sly James, the mayor of Kansas City, Mo. and Joe Reardon, the mayor of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan. 

Burke and Daniels presented the MBIT’s findings to James, Reardon and others last week and discussed their playbook in a post on the Google Fiber Blog. In that post, Burke and Daniels offer a high-level look at the MBIT’s preliminary recommendations for how the Kansas City area can best utilize Google Fiber:  

  • Education: Outfit a handful of classrooms for demonstration projects that fully integrate high-speed fiber technology into daily lessons, equipping our students with the most innovative educational resources.
  • Telehealth pilots: Work with several hospitals and clinics to provide the technology to perform diagnostic services to people at home and at work, potentially increasing the quality of care for some patients while simultaneously reducing ER wait times and hospital readmissions.
  • Testbeds for entrepreneurs: Build a technology incubator that invites entrepreneurs to gather in a fiber-rich environment and work together to enhance their current businesses and develop new apps.
  • Global roundtables: Conduct a series of global telepresence roundtables to establish Kansas City as an emerging global leader in the new digital economy and accelerate economic development and innovation.
  • Enhance convention center technology: Make our convention center one of the most tech-friendly gathering places in the country.
  • Develop a robust IT workforce: Work with and train Kansas Citians to become leading IT professionals throughout the US and the world.
The MBIT also recommended the creation of a regional Digital Leadership Network, which Burke and Daniels said would serve “as a new, united effort to ensure implementation of projects in the Playbook and to bring vision, strategy and coordination to the region’s broadband efforts over time.”
 
Among the other noteworthy suggestions by the MBIT was the call for publicly accessible Wi-Fi in parts of Kansas City as part of a push for digital inclusion. “High-speed fiber cannot reach its full potential,” Burke and Daniels said, “if large segments of our community are excluded from its benefits.”
 
For more information on the MBIT’s playbook, “Playing to Win in America’s Digital Crossroads,” you can:  

 

Credits: Photo from MARCKC on Flickr


Gig Bits is an occasional feature that provides a rundown of the latest newsworthy nuggets related to the Google Fiber project in the Kansas City area.

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