When it comes to the digital future of Kansas City, Google Fibre, the super-fast Internet service from Google, automatically comes to mind. But it is not the only revolutionary new Internet service provider in town.
The KC Freedom Network aims to one-up Google Fibre by bringing truly affordable Internet to the city, according to The Verge.
But, wait, isn’t one of the amazing things about Google Fibre that it offers a free Internet option?
Well, “free” has some strings attached. Interested customers must pay a $US300 construction fee for the service, which can be paid either all at once or in $US25 installments for a year.
So, enter the truly free KC Freedom Network. Six Kansas City organisations began building the nonprofit wireless Internet service because many poor residents could not afford Fibre or lived in an area that didn’t meet Google’s minimum pre-registration requirement. The KC Network currently serves about 600 low-income households. In comparison, Google Fibre had fewer than 830 customers at the end of last year, according to Internet traffic monitor Akamai.
Sure, the speed of the KC Network can’t compare with Google’s ultra-fast Fibre, but it does do a better job at mitigating Kansas City’s digital disparity. 25% of the city didn’t have broadband at home when Google conducted its comprehensive survey last year. The Network hopes to eventually charge $US20 a year.