North Kansas City officials are considering the future of the city-owned liNKCity fibre-optic network, and a 5 August vote could pave the way for the possible sale of the infrastructure. Mike Smith, assistant city administrator, told the Kansas City Star: ‘We’re not saying if we would or wouldn’t sell it or lease it. The ballot language is very purposefully structured to say if there is a yes vote, it doesn’t mandate that we have to sell’.
liNKCity was deployed in 2006 and started signing up customers in 2007, but currently has just 900 users on its books. The utility is believed to rely heavily on government subsidies, but received a welcome windfall in 2013 when it agreed to lease a portion of dark fibre to Google Fiber. Google Fiber, which is in the process of rolling out 1Gbps networks in selected cities, is not active in North Kansas City, but paid USD3.2 million to lease liNKCity’s fibre for a 20-year period. The dark fibre allows Google to traverse the Missouri River and provide services to other cities within its catchment area north of the river.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Google Fiber is currently commercially available in Kansas City and Provo, Utah. A third city, Austin, Texas, was confirmed as a Google Fiber market in April 2013, but the launch is still pending, with the deployment only getting underway earlier this month.