One only need to briefly glance at the map of existing and proposed Google fiber cities (above) to realize it is being deployed in manner that rewards certain regions and potentially harms others.
- No cities are represented from the New England, Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes, or North Central regions, while there are four from the Southeast.
- Two cities in North Carolina, Texas, and Utah are included in the deployment, while 39 states have no representation.
- No poor or economically distressed cities are included – no Youngstown, no Gary, no Allentown, no Detroit, no Cleveland, no Camden, no Bakersfield, no Lower Rio Grande Valley, no New Orleans, etc.
- Even the collegiate home of Google’s two founders have been left out – Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The deployment of Google fiber clearly picks regional winners and losers in their headlong and competitive race into the future. While the competition for the original deployment location may have been an evenly weighted gimmick to build publicity, the subsequent phases appear to have been awarded in a manner which seems over-weighted towards economically vibrant Sunbelt and Western urban areas, while leaving behind large swaths of the country that are home to just as much talent, but which may be in much more need for benefits derived from rapid technological advancement.
No one is expecting Google to direct its entire fiber network solely in a way that demonstrates overt favoritism towards poor or less vibrant cities. But with at least some of the cities being selected, there should be an attempt to reach out to the underprivileged, economically stagnant, and/or less fortunate parts of our country to help raise them up. To do otherwise only serves to accelerate the social, class, demographic, and economic fractures that already split our country into the haves and have-nots.