What Can Google Fiber Do For You? Get the Full Gigabit City Results

Imagine it’s 75 years from now. Your grandson brings his son into Union Station. Before them stands a moving, smiling, talking, 3-D image of you and your son visiting the Station 50 years ago.

Around them are other holograms of Kansas Citians visiting the Station as it was in the year 2036. They walk, laugh, wave at the camera, and talk about what their lives are like, what’s important to them, what they want to pass on to their children’s grandchildren.

What if these living memories were not just in one historic building but in all of them? What if they were in our homes?

Mind blown yet?

Such a “Culture Cache Time Capsule” may sound far-fetched, but with a fast enough broadband network, delivering science-fiction-y media isn’t out of reach. As soon as next year, Kansas City could be the first to city to test whether ideas like this are possible – and, perhaps more important, how they could benefit everyday citizens.

As many Library fans are well aware, Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, were chosen from 1,100 communities to be the first metro area to receive Google’s new fiber-optic broadband network. With a connection that delivers one gigabit of data per second, Google Fiber promises network speeds 100 times faster than regular broadband.

But what to do with it all that speed? Since the announcement was made earlier this year, the business, tech, educational, creative, non-profit, and entrepreneurial communities (among others) have been circling their wagons to prepare for the arrival of what could be a breathtaking technological enhancement to our city.

The Social Media Club of Kansas City has stepped up as a leader in organizing disparate parts of the community in discussing potential uses for Google Fiber, and they’ve chosen the Kansas City Public Library as their gathering place and partner in the proceedings.

On October 3, 2011, at the Library, the Social Media Club and The Brainzooming Group led 80 local thought leaders in brainstorming ideas for how Google Fiber could reshape our city.

On November 10, 2011, the results from that brainstorming session were discussed at a public forum called “Building the Gigabit City: 1,000 Uses for Google Fiber in KC.”

The Culture Cache Time Capsule mentioned above was one those specific uses. Others included a “master school district,” micro-loans for urban areas, online study hangouts for high school students, a virtual town hall, medical access at home, and more. You can watch the archived video stream of the entire public forum on Ustream. (Note: It's divided into three videos.)

Brainzooming has also made the full, 120-page report available for download by all. It contains dozens of ideas to improve education, health care, civic life, cultural activities, public institutions, and libraries.

Download the full Gigabit City report (PDF), courtesy of The Brainzooming Group.

Once you've had a chance to look it over, let us know what you think of the report. In what ways do you think Google Fiber could be leveraged to make KC a better place to live? Share your thoughts in the comments.

About the Author

Jason Harper is the web content developer and social media manager at the Kansas City Public Library. He has been tweeting, Facebooking, blogging, and YouTubing for the Library since 2010.