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Letter to the Editor about Google Fiber

I noticed a few posts on your website on Google Fiber and thought I would share what I learned about the process and how this qualification/sign up process worked. First you posted that to qualify that areas had to get 50 sign ups. That was not the case. Each area had a different number of sign ups required. For example, my area is Village Gardens. Our area required 164 sign ups to qualify. That seemed like a lot and in fact so many that there was no way for us to qualify. I was right.

I ask about Google Fiber two years ago at a Raytown Board of Alderman meeting. I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. So finally the day comes and Google unveils the “Fiberhoods“. I noticed a few odd things right off the bat. For example the Fiberhood Shalimar Park was shown to need 50+ sign ups. Yet that area is pretty much park and golf course. There weren’t much more than 50 homes in the entire area. On the face it looked like it was impossible for them to reach their goal and in fact for the first three weeks they sat at 75th or 76th.  They looked to have no chance.

So after about two weeks it started to look pretty bad for my area Village Gardens and at one point I e-mailed Aldreman Greene and asked him what he might know. He said he was seeing the same thing I was which were areas that seemed to have no chance to qualify. So the next day I called Google Fiber’s customer service and asked. They were very nice and told me that the reason the number seemed so high for my area was because of the large number of high density apartment
complexes in my Fiberhood. The only problem is there are no apartment complexes in Village Gardens. For some reason they thought there were and thus the required number of sign ups reflected that.

So the next day I went down to Google’s little shop down near Sutherlands and talked to a very nice lady. She told me that Village Gardens had 71 sign ups but needed 164 total. She agreed something was not right and told me she would send her supervisor a note on the matter. Two days later I got a phone call from a lady with Google in Tulsa Oklahoma of all places. Just by chance she grew up in Raytown and told me she could see there was something wrong because she knows
the area. She promised to call me back in a few days. A few days later she called me back and told me to check online and I would see all was fixes and Village Gardens was now qualified.

Since then I’ve noticed several Fiberhoods go from needing 50+ to suddenly qualified.  Shalimar Park for example went from 75th needing almost 50 more sign ups to #1 and qualified. It seems Village Gardens was not the only area where the numbers needed to be adjusted. I have a feeling there were a number of people in the area calling Google and telling them something was amiss with their numbers.

Mind you I think this speaks well for Google. They listened. Usually when you deal with a company like this and someone says “I’ll send a note to my supervisor” that’s short hand for you’ll never hear from anyone. In this case however I had an answer back in 48 hours and they admitted something was wrong and fixed it. I’m impressed.

Brian Morris

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