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Overland Park First City to Block Google Fiber
by Karl Bode 08:49AM Friday Sep 20 2013
Google Fiber has been embraced with open arms in Kansas City, to the point where regions have been willing to sign sweetheart deals where Google gets to pick the neighborhoods they want or just walk away from the project whenever they want. Not so in Kansas's second-largest city Overland Park, where the Kansas City Star points out that Google's entry there has hit a roadblock over "liability concerns":
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The city council continued the issue at its meeting Monday night because of a liability concern in the proposed legal agreement with Google. Council members agreed the technicality needs to be resolved before they feel comfortable voting.
Judging from story comments, locals quickly started to wonder if some regional incumbent gamesmanship might be afoot (certainly not outside the modus operandi of local incumbents Time Warner Cable and AT&T, who have a long, long history when it comes to under-handed attacks on competitive threats). An e-mail being sent by the Overland Park Mayor's Office however claims it's indemnification issues holding up the deal:
The Council worked through a number of issues Monday night and the only issue left has to do with indemnification, that is, to hold Google harmless for any losses related to third party claims and lawsuits against Google for violating certain safety codes, breaching warranties, representations, as well as other provisions of the agreements and certain other matters. In the legal opinion of staff and outside counsel, such indemnification without any conditional language opens the City to significant financial risk.
While the Mayor goes on to suggest that Google Fiber will proceed in Overland Park when this language is changed, other city council meeting attendees seemed to get the impression Google wouldn't budge on the issue, potentially resulting in Google taking their $70 symmetrical 1 Gbps connections elsewhere. While cities should have the right to negotiate a good deal, Overland Park's in a tough negotiations position given the thousands of cities waiting in the wings eager to strike any deal whatsoever.

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Snohomish, WA

2 recommendations

Why assume coruption...

...I think the problem is similar to what happened in the original KC contract were google thought they could squeeze their fiber on existing poles, in the "safety zone" below the high tension lines.
Overland Park is wisely being cautious, rather then just assuming Google's liability and/or the cost of improving/replace ALL the power poles with taller one (a huge expense) while giving google blanket free row/pole fees.


Cleveland, TN

2 recommendations

I agree with the council

I would love to have google fiber or EPB fiber optics (which the later is a 15 minute drive away from me) and I have considered selling my house to move to Ooltewah to get it. But, the liability that statement removes from google and presumably would leave the city liable for is plain rediculous. The city could be sued for a mistake google maid because they agreed to not hold google liable. Honestly this is a serious legal concern and the city is doing the right thing.