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View Full Version : Electronics Google poised to stumble into Kansas City’s racial past with Troost east/west divide


Deberg_1990
08-30-2012, 09:02 AM
Interesting………This is going to turn into a unintended, fascinating social experiment.




http://www.kansascity.com/2012/08/29/3786564/troost-is-where-eastwest-divide.html


Google is poised to stumble into Kansas City’s racial past, entangled in the historic boundary between black and white that is Troost Avenue.
Sept. 10 is the day of reckoning. That’s the day after Google’s deadline for people to pre-register for its ultra-fast Internet service.

Predictions of a backlash that Google neither fathomed nor intended are being voiced this week in community meetings with company representatives.
“The collateral damage for Google is going to be devastating,” said Kansas City school board member Joseph Jackson.

More positively, the fears are accompanied by strategies and commitments to stave off what some see as inevitable.
“Kansas City is being watched,’ said Myron Moore, who helped organize the meeting for area ministers and Google. “Let’s all come together.”

The maps tell the story. The demarcation line of Troost is stark.
Areas shaded green, with enough pre-registrations to be wired with the new service, lie west of Troost. Areas to the East remain yellow and are not meeting goals set by Google.
Not enough pre-registrations could mean there won’t be wiring to those neighborhoods’ schools, community centers, police stations, libraries — a range of public buildings that Google promised free access if goals were met.

Not one school east of Troost has hit the percentage of pre-registrations of surrounding homeowners that Google deemed necessary to trigger the free hookups. Low-income areas of Kansas City, Kan., also are struggling.

What is feared is a public backlash, with people east of Troost believing their neighborhoods were left out.
“That Troost line needs to be obliterated by Sept. 10,” said DeWayne Bright, a site coordinator with Local Investment Commission, or LINC, Caring Communities. Bright notes that the digital divide in low-income areas is massive. “We can’t let our kids take this hit. … Their schools already lack accreditation. They don’t need this telling them ‘you are less than everybody else.’ ”

What’s missing in some neighborhoods is an understanding of the value Google Fiber will bring to children in the urban core. But it’s a message people will value if it is explained to them, Bright and others said. The initial $10 to sign up is not the barrier. Consider the view from Google Earth, Jackson said. You see lots of rooftops.
“If you go door-to-door, you see vacant houses.”
Vacant homes will never produce the paying customers Google needs.
“When you are a community that has been promised so much and never received it, like the East Side, this could be a public relations nightmare for Google,” said April Roy, manager of the Bluford branch of the Kansas City Public Library.
The dilemma is introducing new phrasings into the rollout of Google Fiber.

There is “manufactured green” and “true green.”
True green is where people are likely to become paying customers.
Manufactured green is where people have gone door-to-door and solicited signups for service, picking up the $10 tab. For instance, Friends of the Kansas City Public Library donated the money hoping to qualify the Bluford and Southeast branches for access.

Any means necessary might work, for now.
Repeatedly, community leaders are asking for assurance that Google won’t back out of providing the free hookups for such libraries and schools if the paying customers never materialize.

Google community liaison Rachel Hack assured a group of about 75 ministers on Tuesday that the tech giant is committed to providing the access wherever the pre-registrations are met — even if those areas later did not produce paid subscriptions.
“Yes, so long as the ‘fiberhood’ met their goal, even if they don’t convert to subscriptions,” Hack said.
But the murmur in the crowd was tangible as Hack used the phrase “at this point.” Some heard that as a qualifier.

Unfortunately, this is the level of distrust that Google faces.
Clearly, the argument can be made that Google should have realized the risk of tripping into racial and socioeconomic tensions that have festered for generations. And the company should have been more cognizant that a business plan of sign-ups that would garner success in suburban areas might not fair as well elsewhere.
Bright is among those trying to persuade Google to try a new approach: Wire the schools first.

Students would become like little ambassadors taking the word, and their desire for the cutting edge technology, back to their more hesitant parents and grandparents.
But Google worker Phyllis Faulkner-Johnson said that is not logistically feasible. Google’s plan is based on large numbers of customers in an area, not a lone site.
The Social Media Club of Kansas City, another group working diligently, reports that as of Wednesday morning 4,089 more pre-registrations are necessary in Missouri and 1,749 in Kansas City, Kan., to turn all neighborhoods green.
Here’s what makes that so hard.

Many people are not homeowners, but renters. Some say they need to reach the landlord for permission to have the home wired with Google Fiber. But the landlord is often someone in another state and difficult to contact.
Another barrier is apartment buildings. Jackson has been shooed away, told that another company has a contract there. In other areas of the city, Google has worked to get access to apartment buildings, gaining prior permission from management firms.
“If only” keeps creeping into the conversation
If only Google had hired local high school students to help push the possibilities of Google fiber in their schools and neighborhoods.

If only Google hadn’t put its office space at State Line and Westport Road, not very accessible for many east of Troost who depend on bus service.
If only Google had anticipated the many elderly people east of Troost who are bound to bundled service providers now and hesitate to sign up for anything new that doesn’t include a land line phone.

And the big one: If only Google had realized just how quickly the racial wounds associated with Troost as a division between black and white people can boil up.
If Google runs afoul here, we all lose.

loochy
08-30-2012, 09:06 AM
I don't understand the issue. Not enough people in those yellow neighborhoods signed up, so it doesn't make business sense to send access there.

WTF

Google should issue a statement like this: "We at Google do not care what damn color you are. We only care about making money. We had enough people sign up for our service in select neighborhoods to warrant us installing access in those areas. If you don't like that then get bent."

blaise
08-30-2012, 09:41 AM
"The collateral damage for google is going to be devastating."

I doubt it.

brorth
08-30-2012, 09:47 AM
"The collateral damage for google is going to be devastating."

I doubt it.

Kansas City really is a throwback segregated town on both sides. It's always been the elephant in the room, socially.
Google is just "that guy" who walked in said "You guys got a pet elephant? Cool!"
It highlights it even more because the fiberhoods weren't created by zip code, but the actual neighborhoods people live in.

Fish
08-30-2012, 09:50 AM
Well they can't expect service in locations where there's not enough interest to warrant it. Yeah it's too bad that there's legitimate households and establishments that could definitely appreciate the service. But if they live in the midst of shit neighborhoods with abandoned houses, or poor houses that couldn't afford internet, it's not cost viable for Google to do it.

Google has to look at the big picture here. Neighborhoods at a time.

The issue is the shit poor economic condition of neighborhoods east of Troost. That's the problem. Google's map just points out the obvious economic divide that has existed for decades. They didn't create that divide. And you can't be angry at Google because their map points out that divide so vividly.

Fix your shit neighborhoods that have needed it forever, and Google will have reason to venture in.

Strongside
08-30-2012, 09:59 AM
If they think it's bad here, wait until they start canvasing the South. Cities like Tuscaloosa, Mobile, and Memphis. Have fun with that.

KCUnited
08-30-2012, 10:07 AM
Google is the only business not to provide a service due to lack of demand East of Troost.

Micjones
08-30-2012, 10:08 AM
The rates alone make East of Troost homes seem like the wrong market to tap.
I live West of Troost and have no interest in paying $70 for the service.

|Zach|
08-30-2012, 10:49 AM
The rates alone make East of Troost homes seem like the wrong market to tap.
I live West of Troost and have no interest in paying $70 for the service.

70\month is not the entry level for the google service.

DaFace
08-30-2012, 11:15 AM
I guess I don't understand the fuss. Is the rest of the country going to start crying about not having it next and saying that the whole thing is discriminatory?

Great Expectations
08-30-2012, 11:20 AM
"The collateral damage for google is going to be devastating."

I doubt it.

What are the potential types of collateral damage they threatening Google with? Are they going to refuse to buy their service if they don't make it available?

KCUnited
08-30-2012, 11:21 AM
I guess I don't understand the fuss. Is the rest of the country going to start crying about not having it next and saying that the whole thing is discriminatory?

Old wounds seeping, nothing to see here.

sedated
08-30-2012, 11:26 AM
At first glance it looks like an apathetic community lashing out at the consequences of their own apathy, and blaming a corporation rather than themselves.

But there could be some legitimate issues with Google’s methods. The “abandoned home” theory seems to throw a wrench into Google’s “formula”.

And I’ve heard that apartments have had an issue with this in every region, not just in the poorer ones. The “formula” doesn’t quite work in apartments, and apartment managers are VERY apprehensive to give their residents options. Every apartment I’ve ever lived in had a single service provider; no chance of getting anything else, even if the people across the street had several options. Almost made me think a provider had paid them off for that exclusivity.

Micjones
08-30-2012, 11:28 AM
70\month is not the entry level for the google service.

It is for fiber speeds.

Saul Good
08-30-2012, 11:48 AM
At first glance it looks like an apathetic community lashing out at the consequences of their own apathy, and blaming a corporation rather than themselves.

But there could be some legitimate issues with Google’s methods. The “abandoned home” theory seems to throw a wrench into Google’s “formula”.

And I’ve heard that apartments have had an issue with this in every region, not just in the poorer ones. The “formula” doesn’t quite work in apartments, and apartment managers are VERY apprehensive to give their residents options. Every apartment I’ve ever lived in had a single service provider; no chance of getting anything else, even if the people across the street had several options. Almost made me think a provider had paid them off for that exclusivity.

How does that throw a wrench into the formula. It doesn't matter how badly people in apartments want the service if they can't buy it.

sedated
08-30-2012, 11:57 AM
How does that throw a wrench into the formula. It doesn't matter how badly people in apartments want the service if they can't buy it.

Part of my statement included lofts – people who own property in buildings and therefore COULD buy the service. I know some people that have had issues with this, but can’t remember the exact explanation.

I don’t see why true “apartments” couldn’t buy the service, as long as the managers could approve the installation.

ReynardMuldrake
08-30-2012, 11:58 AM
What is the complaint exactly? That Google is targeting areas where demand is the highest?

Just another example of people making things about race where there's nothing there.

Stewie
08-30-2012, 12:10 PM
So, it's Google or nothing? What about Time Warner, AT&T, Comcast. Surely they have other options. I live in JoCo and from what I can tell I won't see Google service for years.

penguinz
08-30-2012, 12:14 PM
So, it's Google or nothing? What about Time Warner, AT&T, Comcast. Surely they have other options. I live in JoCo and from what I can tell I won't see Google service for years.Not necessarily true. They have already added Westwood, Westwood Hills and Missions Hills to the initial rollout.

sedated
08-30-2012, 12:30 PM
So, it's Google or nothing? What about Time Warner, AT&T, Comcast. Surely they have other options.

The other options aren’t free for schools. Its another layer in the argument of “more money = better education”, but in this case its solely on the community around the school, not the school district itself (which could just be a semantics thing)

BWillie
08-30-2012, 12:33 PM
Yep, apparently Google is racist now. I bet they didn't vote for Obama either, racists.

CoMoChief
08-30-2012, 01:06 PM
So another words Google can't hook up Fiber in the ghetto parts of KC because there aren't enough people that live there to register because it's a shit hole and no one wants to live there?

Yet this is Google's problem, and they're possibly going to labled as racists now?


Please....

Deberg_1990
08-30-2012, 01:10 PM
Yet this is Google's problem, and they're possibly going to labled as racists now?


Please....

Nobody is calling Google racist.

The main problem is this taken from the story above:

Not enough pre-registrations could mean there won’t be wiring to those neighborhoods’ schools, community centers, police stations, libraries — a range of public buildings that Google promised free access if goals were met

Fish
08-30-2012, 01:11 PM
Nobody is calling Google racist.

The main problem is this taken from the story above:

Not enough pre-registrations could mean there won’t be wiring to those neighborhoods’ schools, community centers, police stations, libraries — a range of public buildings that Google promised free access if goals were met

Which also is not Google's problem....

CoMoChief
08-30-2012, 01:14 PM
Nobody is calling Google racist.

The main problem is this taken from the story above:

Not enough pre-registrations could mean there won’t be wiring to those neighborhoods’ schools, community centers, police stations, libraries — a range of public buildings that Google promised free access if goals were met

Ok....so how come there aren't enough registrations?

Is it because there's a bunch of vacant, ghetto, govt. subsidized housing in that area? Am I wrong for getting that perception from this article?

- And why is that?

Could it be because that area of the city is a crime-filled shit hole and no one wants to live there and leaves as soon as they can get out?

-King-
08-30-2012, 01:14 PM
Nobody is calling Google racist.

The main problem is this taken from the story above:

Not enough pre-registrations could mean there won’t be wiring to those neighborhoods’ schools, community centers, police stations, libraries — a range of public buildings that Google promised free access if goals were met

Okay... I still don't see the problem. If goals weren't met, why should Google wire those neighborhoods?

jbwm89
08-30-2012, 01:16 PM
Damn you google for running your business like a business instead of a charity.

Deberg_1990
08-30-2012, 01:20 PM
Ok....so how come there aren't enough registrations?

Is it because there's a bunch of vacant, ghetto, govt. subsidized housing in that area? Am I wrong for getting that perception from this article?

- And why is that?

Could it be because that area of the city is a crime-filled shit hole and no one wants to live there and leaves as soon as they can get out?

Yes. I think your missing The point. The Story is about how this Google project is highlighting an old problem in KC which you have pointed out. Not about how Google or anyone is racist.

If anything, Google probably shouldn’t have made these promises to the schools before they did some research into the area.

Fish
08-30-2012, 01:20 PM
Google ISP nah.....

CoMoChief
08-30-2012, 01:29 PM
Yes. I think your missing The point. The Story is about how this Google project is highlighting an old problem in KC which you have pointed out. Not about how Google or anyone is racist.

If anything, Google probably shouldn’t have made these promises to the schools before they did some research into the area.

From what I read the areas had to meet certain requirements in order to receive such promises.

Sweet Daddy Hate
08-30-2012, 01:38 PM
Everyone knows Troost is the red line. Ancient history.

loochy
08-30-2012, 02:23 PM
Nobody is calling Google racist.

The main problem is this taken from the story above:

Not enough pre-registrations could mean there won’t be wiring to those neighborhoods’ schools, community centers, police stations, libraries — a range of public buildings that Google promised free access if goals were met

IF GOALS WERE MET

GOALS WERE NOT MET

NOW STFU

DaFace
08-30-2012, 02:28 PM
If anything, Google probably shouldn’t have made these promises to the schools before they did some research into the area.

Is there a statement somewhere where Google made a promise that didn't include the caveat or something?

Micjones
08-30-2012, 02:35 PM
Most of the people rallying for east of Troost inclusion aren't asking Google to provide free access in public spaces despite failing to meet pre-registration requirements. Many of them are simply asking for an extension of the deadline.

Ace Gunner
08-30-2012, 02:35 PM
"If Google runs afoul here, we all lose."

I don't get any sense of this at all.

My experience in the short time I've been in this area is that many folks east of troost don't want to pay that kind of cash for that service. End of story.

Sorry if not dramatic enough.

Micjones
08-30-2012, 02:41 PM
"If Google runs afoul here, we all lose."

I don't get any sense of this at all.

My experience in the short time I've been in this area is that many folks east of troost don't want to pay that kind of cash for that service. End of story.

I tend to agree.
The fiber speed plans are probably going to be unattractive to working-class families on both sides of Troost.

The 5mpbs service might be an attractive option though.

Thing is, there are other variables in play.

ReynardMuldrake
08-30-2012, 02:42 PM
Most of the people rallying for east of Troost inclusion aren't asking Google to provide free access in public spaces despite failing to meet pre-registration requirements. Many of them are simply asking for an extension of the deadline.

It's not really a deadline though. After the registration period passes, they will roll-out fiber in the neighborhoods that qualify in the order of demand.

After they finish the roll-out the other fiberhoods can still qualify, they just essentially get moved to the back of the line.

Essentially, the areas with the least demand have to wait until the high-demand areas are taken care of first. What's the problem here?

Guru
08-30-2012, 04:15 PM
I guess I don't understand the fuss. Is the rest of the country going to start crying about not having it next and saying that the whole thing is discriminatory?

They discriminated against Topuka. :)