This morning, both Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas were featured in the launch of Next Century Cities, a bipartisan, city-to-city initiative dedicated to ensuring the availability of next-generation broadband Internet for all communities. Next Century Cities is a new initiative of 31 cities nationwide joining together to recognize the importance of leveraging gigabit-level Internet to attract new businesses and create jobs, improve health care and education, and connect residents to new opportunities.
Next Century Cities, in collaboration with both cities, will support communities and their elected leaders, including mayors and other officials, as they seek to ensure that all have access to fast, affordable, and reliable Internet. Participating cities will work with each other to learn about what works – and what doesn’t – so that every community has access to information that can help them succeed. Cities will also work together to raise awareness of this important issue to all Americans.
We know that the young creative minds we are seeking to attract to our community want access to high speed Internet more than they want to own a car. This type of collaboration is the next step in solidifying this region as a high tech leader,” said Mayor Sly James. “Furthermore, collaborating with groups like Next Century Cities sends a clear signal Kansas City is the place to be if you want to in the middle of high growth, high impact opportunities.”
“High-speed internet is no longer a luxury, it is a utility. Job applications, educational opportunities, sources of entertainment, even the healthcare industry – these things are all found online. It is our duty to work with all partners to develop and expand the delivery of internet service to close the digital divide here in Kansas City, ” said Mayor Holland.
In May 2011, Google Fiber announced Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas would become one of the first Google Fiber regions in the nation. Since its arrival, Google Fiber has served as a true catalyst for Kansas City, sparking growth in entrepreneurship and economic development. It has attracted talent nationwide and has inspired local, homegrown talent. The City of Kansas City, Missouri is supporting the project with waivers of permit fees, access to right-of-way and City-owned property and coordinated project management. In exchange, Google Fiber is providing 300 City-owned buildings, community centers and schools with free gigabit internet services.
“The Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, KS (UG) is also working with Google Fiber and other organizations to support and grow our small business community. Recently, the UG partnered with Code for America to develop a marketing and learning application for entrepreneurs called BizFriend.ly. The UG is also developing an “open data” initiative to streamline processes and make the agency more transparent and efficient.”
“Across the country, we’re seeing cities hungry to deploy high-speed Internet to transform communities and connect residents to better jobs, better health care, and better education for their children,” said Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities. “Mayor Holland and Mayor James are joining with other leaders across the country to roll up their sleeves and get the job done. Next Century Cities is committed to celebrating these successes, demonstrating their value, and helping other cities to realize the full power of truly high-speed, affordable, and accessible broadband.”
Founding city leaders agreed on the importance of next-generation broadband for thriving 21st century communities. The launch event in Santa Monica, California also featured a group discussion among additional mayors, a demonstration of the potential of gigabit Internet connections for cities, and a panel with leading technology officials. For more information on Next Century Cities, including the full list of all cities involved, visit www.nextcenturycities.org.