Google announced today it selected Kansas City, Kan., for a free fiber-optic network that promises Internet speeds 100 times faster than those currently available to most homes and businesses in the U.S. It's a project worth millions. The news likely dashed the hopes of the more than 600 communities across the country that asked to be considered for the project, including Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
We wrote about Google fever last March. The frenzy to get Google's attention prompted a lot of stunts. Topeka, Kan., renamed itself Google, people were jumping into freezing lakes in the middle of winter—it was big. Here, our efforts were more mild—Durhamites spelled out 'Google' for an aerial photo at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
We understand. It's a little disheartening to be passed over for Kansas. Here in North Carolina, we actually have a lot in common with Kansas: breathtaking landscapes (but we've got the beach), great barbecue (vinegar, baby) and exhilarating college basketball (although both Roy Williams and Dean Smith chose to settle on Tobacco Road).
This isn't the first time Kansas has beat out North Carolina for a multi-million dollar investment. In 2006, both North Carolina and Kansas were on a short list of states where the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was considering building National Bio and Agro Defense Facility. The NBAF is a huge federal complex for the research of "pathogens and pests" that threaten plants and animals vital to the country's agricultural systems, including zoonotic diseases, or diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans.
When it was proposed that the facility be located in Butner, residents and community leaders across the region gathered in fervent opposition. In 2009, Homeland Security announced the NBAF would be located in Manhattan, Kan. So, maybe being passed over for Kansas isn't always a bad thing.
(Also, our good state's name hasn't been branded by melodramatic prog-rock for the past four decades. Just saying.)