On March 30, Google announced that it would deploy its super-fast, next-generation broadband network in Kansas City, Kan.
The announcement came a year after applications started coming in from cities and towns across the U.S. that hoped to be the site for the broadband experiment. Google said it received about 1,100 applications.
One came from Oxford, where local attorney Stewart Rutledge led the effort to land Google’s grand prize.
Magnolia Marketplace spoke with Rutledge Monday morning. The gist of the conversation was this: There isn’t much clarity as to whether Kansas City will be the only winner. Google could set up shop in another applicant city, or it could put all its 1Gbps eggs in Kansas City’s basket.
“The original campaign was very ambiguous,” Rutledge said. “It definitely led the public to believe there would be at least one winner, and it heavily implied there would be multiple winners.”
For its part, Google isn’t saying one way or another. Two weeks before the Kansas City news broke, Rutledge wrote a letter to Google seeking to gain a little clarity about a timetable for announcing a winner, and if there would be one or multiple winners. The letter, which has gone unanswered, also made the case for Oxford.
“Google said they wanted this to reach people who were underserved when it came to broadband access,” he said. “Well, if you go 10 miles from Oxford in either direction, you’ll find 10,000 people who fit into that category. Of course, they have every right to do what they want. I would liken it to a grant program with less clear guidelines.”
For now, Rutledge said he and city officials will maintain as much communication with Google as possible, and hope for the best. Rutledge’s work hasn’t cost Oxford anything. He’s worked on this for free.
“We want to maintain the relationship, even though it’s been a one-way relationship so far,” Rutledge said. “We certainly haven’t let it die.”