Google Funkhouser

Interesting news from the Mayor’s office:

Kansas City Mayor Sly James will hold his first major press conference in the Chamber of Commerce Board Room at Union Station, today, Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 11:00 a.m.

The Mayor will deliver remarks and announce a significant economic development initiative for the City of Kansas City.

The word from the Star is that Google plans to expand it’s petaflop speed Internet project, currently based in Kansas City, KS, to include Kansas City, Missouri.

That’s good news.

So far no one in the mayor’s office, or on the city council, have had much to say on the subject. I’m sure – having mortgaged my children to punitive NDAs before – that has as much or more to do with the legal papers they signed as it does with providing the city a “united” front behind Mayor James.

Overall we should be pleased; our new fiber Overlords will accellerate the Mid-West’s surfing habits, damn the costs, though those have been promised to be “competitive.” I don’t doubt it – we’re the “loss leader” part of Google’s Internet project; the network won’t show positive ROI until it rolls out nation-wide.  1

But what I wonder is how much credit Funkhouser will get at today’s presser.

Don’t misunderstand me, I am not suggesting that the current set of pols downtown didn’t have a hand in the project. But there’s no way, not being e-vil and all, that Google wasn’t in direct negotiations with both the Funk and the past city council months ago. The terms and conditions of the project would are simply too complicated for Google to have approached Mayor James a week ago with a handshake deal.

No, Funk must have played an integral part. But what part, and will his contribution be acknowledged today?

And at what price is Google’s largesse? Did Mayor James and the new council make concessions that Funk found too onerous? Or had Funk and the past city council signed off on the same deal but Google (wisely) waited to announce until after the last election cycle?

These and other queries will probably never be definitively answered, but my sense is that this past election Funk -political naïf to the bitter end- didn’t play yet another political ace up his sleeve.
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  1. Even then one wonders if the enhanced access Google will have to its customers’ data isn’t really the end goal…but enough with Pinky and the Brain conspiracy theories on this lovely Tuesday morning.

2 Replies to “Google Funkhouser”

  1. It played out like Iran hostage crisis. Carter (Funk) leaves in shame, Reagan (Sly) gets to do a victory announcment. Knowing what I know about the telecom industry and being pessimist that I am, I don’t think the google thing will amount to anything but a big loss for them. This isn’t going to be a Silicon Valley 2.

    1. The Iran hostage crisis makes a fun analogy. (Plus the fact that it failed assured Obama’s success last week.)

      Agree about Google’s ROI probabilities and was only half joking about their lust desire for more more and more and more data…

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