Kansas City, a metropolitan area of about 2 million that straddles the border between Kansas state and Missouri, seems an unlikely place to see what the future of internet connectivity could look like. But nearly three years after Google announced that this midwestern metropolis best known for jazz and barbecue would become the first place in the world to get the company’s experimental, ultra-high-speed broadband internet service — Google Fiber — Kansas City is looking more futuristic. Just not in the way Google or Kansas Citians originally anticipated.

That’s because Kansas City is also home to another experimental broadband internet service effort that hasn’t received nearly as much international attention as Google Fiber. Just over a year ago, right around the same time Google actually began installing Fiber here, a ragtag alliance of affordable-internet advocates including a jazz club proprietor, a Pentecostal Christian minister and a former Occupy Wall Street protester began building their own nonprofit wireless internet service specifically designed for low-income households, a system they call the KC Freedom Network. Even though it can’t match Google Fiber in terms of raw speed, the KC Freedom Network offers something to users they say Google does not: truly affordable internet.

“The amount of money was probably the biggest thing,” says Anita Dixon, vice president of The Mutual Musicians Foundation, one of six organizations participating in the alternate network. Her group manages one of the country’s oldest jazz halls, located in Kansas City’s historic 18th and Vine district, a cultural pillar of the city’s African-American community.