When it comes to the digital future of Kansas City, Google Fiber, the super-fast Internet service from Google, automatically comes to mind. But it is not the only revolutionary new Internet service provider in town.
But, wait, isn't one of the amazing things about Google Fiber that it offers a free Internet option?
Well, "free" has some strings attached. Interested customers must pay a $300 construction fee for the service, which can be paid either all at once or in $25 installments for a year.
So, enter the truly free KC Freedom Network. Six Kansas City organizations began building the nonprofit wireless Internet service because many poor residents could not afford Fiber or lived in an area that didn't meet Google's minimum pre-registration requirement. The KC Network currently serves about 600 low-income households. In comparison, Google Fiber had fewer than 830 customers at the end of last year, according to Internet traffic monitor Akamai.
Sure, t he speed of the KC Network can't compare with Google's ultra-fast Fiber, but it does do a better job at mitigating Kansas City's digital disparity. 25% of the city didn't have broadband at home when Google conducted its comprehensive survey last year. The Network hopes to eventually charge $20 a year.
More From Business Insider