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What Would You Do with a Gig?

Thom Ruhe, Director of Entrepreneurship, The Kauffman Foundation

Kansas City will soon receive internet connectivity that will be one hundred times faster than anywhere else in the world.  What should they do with it?

Last year, Google announced its Google Fiber contest, where communities could compete to receive internet connection speeds at one gigabit per second, or about 100 times faster than anywhere else in the world.  Over a thousand communities, counties and municipalities applied. Google recently announced that it had selected two cities, Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri, as the first winning cities. 

Many groups, including universities, economic development organizations and local government leaders, pulled together to create the most appealing proposal possible, but now that they’ve “won” the contest, the region now has to decide how to use its newfound computing power. Now that Kansas City knows it will be the fastest internet in the world, what should the city do with it? Its as if the proverbial dog finally caught the car.  

In some sense, the possibilities for the application of Google Fiber are endless. 

Medicine, research, development, transportation, engineering, and many other industries could all find innovative uses to exploit this new technology. But how does a region know where it should place its bets when it receives such a potentially game-changing technology, months, if not years ahead of everyone else

It’s clear that Google wants this project to yield new apps that can expand human welfare. Innovators and entrepreneurs from around the city are no doubt working to develop the most creative uses for this connectivity speed, but the area should look outside its own borders and solicit help from abroad.

So, what would you do with a gig?  How would you use faster internet speeds?  How could your business expand due to a quicker connection? 

Let’s dream big here folks.  I’d love to hear your ideas!

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