If you’re like me, you’re still stinging from the tacit rejection of Google Fiber. Just last month Louisville was overlooked for the much coveted city wide internet solution while Kansas City, Austin, TX and Provo, NV all have existing Google Fiber projects in the works. Louisvillians had hoped to be among the cities considered for expansion. Sadly we didn’t even make the short list.
But who can blame Google for looking elsewhere when you consider our cities recent history with franchise agreements. As it stands now, Time Warner (once Insight and soon to be Comcast) is limping along on an extension of the old Insight agreement which is good until 2018 (I believe). The Mayor fought with Insight and then Time Warner to keep a customer service center here in Louisville as well as free internet for our Metro agencies/schools/etc which only amounts to a hidden tax passed on to customers by Insight/Time Warner. Just another “fee” line time with an obscure name for us to swallow.
On the brighter side, a request for proposals expired in January of this year looking for companies who might be interested in building out a fiber network for Louisville. Few details have been released about who responded or with what level of interest. But unfortunately, until the Metro Council changes our franchise agreement ordinance to allow for longer more attractive agreements, it is unlikely this RFP will bear any fruit.
Perhaps I’m bitter because of the apparent uselessness of my Councilman but I have little faith that the Council can get on the same page even for this measure that is clearly a benefit to all Louisvillians. Access to affordable gigabit fiber would open the door to new businesses as well as create opportunities for existing companies.
Add to that, a component of the RFP was a requirement to provide free or cheap access to underserved and impoverished communities within our city. It seems like a no-brainer but, like the current internet options in Louisville, this process is moving at a snails pace.
Our local government should be looking for ways to attract high tech industries and encouraging our current providers to expand and upgrade their products. But instead Louisville gets looked over again and again until we end up bring up the rear as we did with 4G/LTE.
Someone should tell the Mayor that it’s hard to be perceived as an attractive, high tech business location when you are one of the last major cities to adopt new technologies. He should show a little urgency if he wants to still be Mayor when we finally do get fiber.
If you are interested in getting fiber internet in your neighborhood, visit Louisville Fiber.