Commissioner Pai Visits Kansas City's Google Fiber Project
Federal Communications Commission
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:September 5, 2012
Matthew Berry, 202-418-2005
STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONER AJIT PAI
ON HIS VISIT TO KANSAS CITY’S GOOGLE FIBER PROJECTThe United States needs a 21st century communications infrastructure—one that can
support our transition to all-Internet Protocol (IP) networks. Google’s investment in high-speed
IP infrastructure in Kansas City, better known as Google Fiber, highlights the benefits of making
that transition. This project will boost the economy of the Kansas City metropolitan area and
will benefit consumers in a variety of ways. I am witnessing one such example today at the
University of Kansas Medical Center, where Google’s new network will expand the use of
telemedicine and telehealth.
I came to the Google Fiber project in Kansas City because I wanted to see firsthand what
Google has accomplished in Kansas City, how the company did it, and whether lessons from
Kansas City can be applied more broadly.
The most important lesson I have learned thus far is this: It is critically important that
states and local communities adopt broadband-friendly policies when it comes to rights-of-way
management. When broadband service providers seek to construct next-generation networks,
they need to access government-controlled land, poles, and conduits in order to lay fiber and
install other infrastructure. Currently, too many providers who try to obtain such access are
confronted with daunting sets of federal, state, and/or municipal regulations that often delay and
sometimes deter infrastructure investment and broadband deployment.
This wasn’t the case in Kansas City. Instead, local governments made a significant up-
front commitment to expedite and simplify the permitting process. Indeed, this was one of the
main reasons that Google selected Kansas City out of the more than 1,100 communities that
applied. I encourage municipalities across the nation to study Kansas City’s example and to see
if they can streamline their own rights-of-way management policies. In addition, the Federal
Communications Commission should work with stakeholders to develop model regulations,
guidelines, or best practices for rights-of-way management that facilitate fiber deployment while
safeguarding legitimate government interests. In the end, consumers will benefit from a more
proactive, forward-thinking approach to these matters.
More generally, to enable the nationwide deployment of next-generation networks like
Google Fiber, we need to eliminate regulatory barriers to innovation and investment at all levels
of government. Whether we are dealing with economic regulation or rights-of-way management,
we cannot apply 20th century approaches to our 21st century challenges.
- FCC -
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