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Google nixes extra wireless attachments to its new Kansas fibres

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Google has rejected overtures from a Kansas non-profit to integrate their wireless solution for the digitally challenged, saying that it didn't fit into their licensing model.

Connecting for Good is a non-profit organisation aiming to get people in Kansas connected, and had hoped to work with the Chocolate Factory which is in the process of rolling out fibre connections to homes across the city, but Google's deployment is designed to show off what a gigabit connection can do rather than linking in the homes with no connectivity at all.

Kansas was selected by Google as a test city last year, and since then the search giant has been conducting various polls to see what people want and what they'll pay for it, and recently started sending engineers up poles to string fibre-optic cables around the city. Connecting for Good and The Rosedale Development Association were hoping to resell that connectivity, using wireless to patch connections into low-income homes, but now Google has told them that won't be happening.

It's easy to see Google's point - the deployment is specifically intended to test how super-fast internet access changes internet use. Always-on connectivity has changed how the internet is used and perceived, and ramping up the speed might lead to a similar change. Google wants to be first to establish if that's true - subsidising wi-fi links to poor people won't help there.

Not that Google isn't planning to stretch connections beyond the wealthy, connecting the disconnected is part of the plan - but connecting them with fibre, not radios. Google's latest research shows that 17 per cent of Kansas residents were contributing nothing at all to Google's profits, by not using the internet, while eight per cent were limiting their revenue-generating potential by relying on dial-up or "slow speed wireless" connections.

The non-profits aren't giving up, there's bandwidth to be had elsewhere and the local paper is still pointing out the merits of the plan while being careful not to offend the Chocolate Factory. Those schemes will continue trying to provide some sort of connectivity while Google remains focused on finding out what people will do when they've got bags and bags of bandwidth. ®

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