"Silicon Prairie": That's what they're calling Kansas City neighborhoods with access to Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Fiber because of the growth of entrepreneurial start-ups tapping into a 1 Gbps broadband pipe.
"The advantage here for start-ups is simple: a fast Internet pipe makes it easier to handle large files and eliminates buffering problems that plague online video, live conferencing or other network-intensive tasks," said an Associated Press story, adding that the remote Kansas City location does offer challenges in raising money.
Still, the story said, entrepreneurs "believe it's the place to be right now for up-and-coming tech companies."
The entrepreneurial spirit is alive in more than just the start-ups; it's in the way the start-ups are clustering around Google's "fiberhoods." One such cluster can be found in the $48,000 home web developer Ben Barreth bought in one of those neighborhoods. Called the "Home for Hackers," Barreth's residence is open free of charge--for three months at least--to those who pass his application process and demonstrate a "real intention to work on a viable project," the story continued.
Barreth and two others have occupied the home since mid-December, and he's reserved a room for "fiber tourists" who want to crash for a day or two.
"The hope is that these start-ups will move their operations to Kansas City and this will really bless Kansas City, bring jobs and taxes and we'll build a really cool tech scene," Barreth said.
While the broadband is fertile in K.C., the same can't be said about the general atmosphere of the Midwestern city, where it "remains a challenge for start-ups to raise money," said Mike Farmer, founder of mobile search app Leap2.com.
"I've had some really incredible conversations with some big name VCs, and their first statement is that when you're in this early stage you have to be right here, right next to us," he said.
That means, right there, right next to them in Silicon Prairie, and that, he said, is an obstacle.
Of course, there are always those who can make lemonade from lemons. Andy Kallenbach, another resident of Silicon Prairie, thinks it might be a good idea that money's tough to come by.
"The hardest thing about a start-up is execution, OK?" he said. "I think here in Kansas City you have to at some point put your money where your mouth is."
- the Indy Star carried this Associated Press story
Google Fiber a hit with eligible subscribers in Kansas City, survey says
Survey: Google Fiber must deliver on hefty promises