Google didn't pick Kansas City, MO and Kansas City, KS as the locations to build out its Google Fiber service by chance — the company was given a number of incentives by both cities — and The Wall Street Journal reports that Time Warner Cable and AT&T want in on the deal too. In order to create the infrastructure for the cable and gigabit internet service, Google was given everything from free fiber, government employees, buildings, and discounted services; an agreement that a Time Warner Cable spokesman feels puts them "at a competitive advantage compared with not just us but also the other competitors in the field." He continued by stating, "We're happy to compete with Google, but we'd just like an even playing field."
"We're happy to compete with Google, but we'd just like an even playing field."
Local internet and cable providers Time Warner Cable and AT&T have been in talks with both Kansas cities to obtain a "parity agreement." In exchange for the incentives, the cities are requesting that the companies improve their community services to be on par with Google's efforts, which have resulted in free internet connections in hundreds of locations chosen by the government. While AT&T has not announced its progress in the matter, Time Warner Cable has already made a deal with Kansas City, MO. The WSJ cites an unnamed source that claims Time Warner Cable has improved its service's speed and performance in the area in return for discounts that mirror Google's, as well as a partial refund of city fees that the company paid earlier this year. Time Warner Cable has been keeping a close eye on Fiber's progress, even to the point of paying city employees to spy on the service's development.
The heated competition will likely benefit both cities quite nicely, but they see it as more than just business. Kansas City, KS mayor Joe Reardon stated his city's "goal is to encourage innovation. Whether that is Google or an existing provider or someone else, we want to help this to happen over and over again." Rick Usher, assistant city manager of Kansas City, MO shared similar sentiments, explaining to the WSJ that "Our citizens are more aware than ever before of what's available out there."