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August 27, 2012


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So why is the progress so much different in KCK? So much more orange, or even green, in neighborhoods of socioeconomic status similar to neighborhoods east of Troost. What is the difference? Is this the effect of KCK schools laptops to high schoolers program? More owner-occupied housing? More heterogeneity of income within neighborhoods? What's going on?

The KC-K neighborhoods have a diversity of residents there, and the schools and the SMCKC initiative has been working hard to reach out in KC-K. A long time ago, the Social Media Club of Kansas City creating Give Us A Gig, an initiative set out to prepare KC neighborhoods for Google Fiber. Myself and a few other SMCKC members live in KC-K, so we've been personal activists for this neighborhood. KC-K has had business and neighborhood meetings about Google Fiber, we've had people go door to door signing people up, and Wyandotte High has been very active in spreading the news.

For those who want to see the Troost economic & technological divide lessen, I strongly recommend joining the Paint the Town Green project (http://neighbor.ly/paintthetowngreen). KC people have raised funds to cover the costs of pre-registration for low-income housing, and are going door to door to collect information on paper or sign up using mobile devices on the spot.

So it sounds like the difference is just the amount of groundwork that has been done. This is a result of KCK being the original recipient and KCMO added later?


Actually, all of the Give Us A Gig work and MBIT (Mayors' bi-state technology initiative) was created after both cities were announced receipients. I'd say this is clearly a socio-economic divide. Some things to consider:

- On which side of Troost has the most multiple-dwelling units & rentals? Apartment complexes and those renting homes won't likely sign up — the land owner would need to sign up the property.

- How has Google Fiber benefits been presented to these neighborhoods? Do these neighborhoods see billboards, hear radio ads or TV ads and have the benefits been made clear to them? Has anyone explained the "free internet"? A lot of the advertisement has been for fast speeds and the $100+ packages.

-How many community center points are nearby? Notice that those in districts where schools will benefit turned green early.

-How many people in this community use landlines? Lower economic classes might only access the internet through mobile devices or at community centers. Why would they sign up if they aren't already using an internet connection?

And so many more reasons to consider. What do you think, Heather?

I understand all those factors, but those differentiate haves and have nots. I'm more interested in the difference between the response between diffferent "have not" fiberhoods.

I'm interested in why a fiberhood like Caruthers in KCK, which has an elementary school that is 96% black or Latino and 96% economically disadvantaged, hit its registration goal a week ago, while the Eastside in KCMO struggles. In the Pearson School fiberhood, McKinley Elementary is 94% econmically disadvantaged and Pearson Elementary is 97% disadvantaged, and it qualified even earlier than Caruthers. County 5 doesn't have a school, so I can't use school district figures for that, but you can buy a house in that fiberhood for $35,000 today.

So, I'm not talking about the apples to oranges of east vs west of Troost, but the (seems to me) apples to apples of northeastern KCK and east of Troost. What's the difference? If people can figure that out, it seems like that would be the first step in chipping away at the digital divide.

The reason for KCK was due to super coordinating between various groups and individuals, who in the end pre-registered more disenfranchised neighborhoods in a week than many nicer places accomplished in 4 weeks. A clear lack of leadership and apathy by those within these low-income neighborhoods will speak volume to the why not's?.

Who are the Black leaders and where are/where they? The Black radio stations only promoted Google for paid advertisements so that radio station did not do a good job using their platform to allow stronger voices to come in and educate their listeners about the opportunity; and what was at stake for failure. Plenty hiphop played, jokes cut, and getting praise on,but no educating on this game-changer.

Unfortunately, people tend to talk a lot and complain often, but it is apparent they also won't take action in the streets and do the heavy lifting.

I do not blame Google at all.

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