Over one year after Google Fiber came to the Kansas City Startup Village, a grassroots community of startup businesses moved to into the neighborhood. Located in a five-block radius between 43rd and 49th Streets on State Line Road—where you can stand with one foot in Kansas and the other in Missouri—over twenty companies occupy eleven buildings and employee roughly 70 employees. Visitors from across the US and from over 45 countries have made the journey to see what the fiber buzz is all about.
“Google Fiber is 100 times faster than today’s basic internet. It makes every day tasks much quicker and more efficient, giving us additional time to focus on other areas of importance,” said Alex Griffin, founder of NewAppetite.com, a music discovery and promotional collective that functions similar to Pandora but features emerging music artists already gaining momentum in social media channels. “Google Fiber was the initial factor for us coming to the Kansas City Startup Village, but our experience now is more about the community.”
Griffins sentiment is common among the mainly twenty-something’s that have loaded up their cars and headed to Kansas City for a career jumpstart. Tim Haskens is the Web Developer for TravelingNuker.com, a website that gathers scheduling and hiring information for the eleven different union hall trades that are involved with the maintenance of the nuclear power fleet in North America.
Haskens recently completed a three-month “crash,” at Homes for Hackers, a two-story ranch home owned by Kansas City resident Ben Barreth. Housing up to five people, residents of Homes for Hackers receive free rent and unlimited access to Google Fiber during their stay. The main criterion for a key to Homes for Hackers is two fold: (1) your business is legitimate and (2) Google Fiber is critical to its development.
Google Fiber is just as good for the community. Located at 1814 Westport Road in Kansas City, Missouri, The Fiber Space is a Google storefront designed to educate the general public about the benefits of Google Fiber within a community. Visitors enter through a museum, of sorts, complete with displays and high-tech dioramas that help explain the concept of the fiber infrastructure.
Encouraged to sit and relax on chairs and couches in what feels like a walk through an IKEA showroom, visitors can test the speed of their digital devices and laptops, or use one of the digital televisions to enjoy media files like hi-fidelity videos and programs that would otherwise load at a turtle’s speed on a traditional cable internet connection.
“It’s hard for people to imagine what 100 times faster look like,” explained Google Fiber Field Marketing Manager Carlos Casas. “Let’s say I’m a photographer, videographer, or architect and I work with huge files. All of the sudden I’m able to work remotely and maybe have better work-life balance because I can do all of these things from home.”
Casas continued, “What we’ve seen is a lot of people come in and experience Google Fiber and then go home and talk to their government, they’re mayors office to say, ‘We need Google Fiber over here. This is a life changer for homes, for businesses.’ So, that’s really what The Fiber Space is all about—educating people about the possibilities.”