The grass is always greener on the other side, and that’s so true when it comes to Time Warner Cable and AT&T in Kansas City, Kan. and Kansas City, Mo. Not only is the grass a brighter hue over on the side of Google, but its rivals are also turning that envious shade as well. TWC and AT&T are miffed because of the red carpet treatment the city is giving Google and the ultra high-speed fiber network it’s building there.
Kansas City had to really splash out with some nice incentives in order to convince Google to set up shop in the town, including dangling things like free or discounted city services, reports the Wall Street Journal. So Time Warner and AT&T wanna know hey, why aren’t we getting the special treatment, too? Because then it wouldn’t be so special, is my guess.
Some of the perks for Google: Free office space, free power for Google equipment, and use of all “assets and infrastructure” in both Kansas Cities (that might not be correct to pluralize a city but there are two, so) including fiber, buildings, land and computer tools for nada. And to sweeten the deal even more, both cities are giving Google a team of government employees dedicated to the project.
Time Warner Cable has been trying to negotiate with Kansas City, Kan. to get equal treatment and the same goodies as Google; it already signed a deal with Kansas City, Mo. Meanwhile AT&T has approached the Missouri city as well to get its own share of the concessions pie.
AT&T didn’t comment on negotiations but did say it wants all consumers to benefit from “fair and equal competition,” while a Time Warner spokesman told the WSJ:
“There are certain portions of the agreement between Google and Kansas City, Kan., that put them at a competitive advantage compared with not just us but also the other competitors in the field,” said Alex Dudley, a Time Warner Cable spokesman. “We’re happy to compete with Google, but we’d just like an even playing field.”
Kansas City was chosen from more than 1,100 U.S. cities to get Google’s super speedy network for pay-TV and Internet services, appropriately dubbed the Google Fiber network. It’s going to be so fast that the company says a user could download an entire season of 30 Rock in 30 seconds. That’s a lot of Liz Lemon.
Sure, it’s always a good time to poke fun at Time Warner and AT&T now that they’re on the other side and facing off against a potential monopoly. For consumers, when there’s another choice of services it’s always a good thing. But if Google’s network remains so attractive to cities and causes other locales to roll out the red carpet just for Google, there’s still the potential for a monopoly.
The only question is — if Google’s fiber network offers the fastest speeds at similar prices to its competitors, would that be such a bad thing for consumers? Probably not, and we doubt it will come to that as companies like Time Warner and AT&T continue to push back and compete for consumers in the face of Google fiber encroachment.
Web Rivals Want What Google Got [Wall Street Journal]