Monday, February 27, 2012

Is Google Fiber Fostering a New "Research Triangle"?

Photo: Lucie Debelkova, Business Insider
In the 1950s, three cities distinguished themselves as the Research Triangle—Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina became a hub for numerous high-tech companies and enterprises. The Triangle was also born from North Carolina State University, Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Companies within The Triangle include American Airlines, Cisco Systems, General Electric, IBM, Toyota, Verizon and many others, making it one of the most high-tech areas of the country.

On the other side of the country lies Silicon Valley—an obvious hub for tech startups, investors, entrepreneurs, coworking spaces and technology. The East and West coasts seem to be covered. The same goes for the North and South with booming hubs such as Boston and Austin.

But what about the middle of the country? What does the Midwest bring to the technology table?

Kansas City may be the answer.  After being selected as the city that Google Fiber is to build its 1 Gigabit Fiber network on, the city seems to be exploding with entrepreneurship, startups, innovation, new business and technology.

But the city doesn’t have to go at it alone. Silicon Valley is made up of multiple locations, as is Research Triangle. But what cities will help Kansas City become a hub for tech startups? Could we build a Triangle of our own?

Could the next city be Council Bluffs? According to the Des Moines Register, Council Bluffs, Iowa is undergoing a major Google Fiber makeover. Google is currently seeking federal permission to put a satellite antenna farm near the Council Bluffs data center, a move that experts speculate would enable the company to receive movies and TV shows that could be bundled with the super-fast Internet services in Kansas City.

Could it be Omaha? With major entrepreneurial initiatives such as Big Omaha, Silicon Prairie News and many others, Omaha seems to be taking the startup world by storm. It wouldn’t be too surprising if Kansas City’s next-door-neighbor, Omaha, continued to make major Midwest moves when it comes to entrepreneurship—especially being so close to Google Fiber.

Could it be Chicago? There are so many entrepreneurial initiatives going on in Chicago, it’s hard to keep up. And Kansas City already has made great ties to the Windy City’s initiatives—OfficePort CHI, Entrepreneurs Unpluggd and Kauzu (winner of the Born Global Award of Think Big Partners’ Gigabit Challenge). Chicago would greatly benefit from the Google Fiber network and could help to strengthen the Midwest with its big-city approach.

What do you think? Are there other cities in the Midwest that should strive for entrepreneurial success like Kansas City? Could the Midwest become a hub of entrepreneurship, innovation and technology? We can’t help but say yes—after all, anything seems possible with Google Fiber!

Follow me! @AllisonThinkBig
Follow Google Fiber! @GoogleinKC

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