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Google Fiber is transforming Kansas City into a startup mecca

Published Jun 21st, 2013 7:50AM EDT
Google Fiber Kansas City Startups

Memo to cable companies: It seems that some Americans really do want Google Fiber-type speeds after all. CNET’s Maggie Reardon has just come back from Kansas City, where she found that Google’s fiber network has spawned a thriving community of startup companies that want to take advantage of the service’s 1Gbps speeds. In fact, Google Fiber has been such a hit with entrepreneurs that it’s inspired an entire neighborhood to spearhead an initiative called the Kansas City Startup Village that Reardon says now features “nearly two dozen startups within walking distance of each other.” 

Tyler Van Winkle, the director of product development and marketing for mobile search company Leap2, told Reardon that Google Fiber’s service has been remarkably consistent and able to handle large traffic loads being generated by the Startup Village’s young companies.

“We have between five and 15 people on one Google Fiber connection at any one time,” he said. “And we don’t even make a dent in the connection. So even though all that capacity isn’t necessary, we never have to worry about how much bandwidth we are using, no matter what we’re doing.”

And Mike Demarais, a 21-year-old Boston native whose company specializes in developing software for 3D printers, told Reardon that the strong sense of community in Kansas City has been even more valuable than the fiber network itself.

“I can’t imagine trying to compete for any attention in the Valley or Boston right now,” he said. “I mean every kid at MIT and Stanford is building a startup out of their dorm room. It’s hard to get anyone’s attention. But here, it’s still a tight-knit group, and people will talk to you and offer advice.”

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.