Paint the Town Green
Crowdfunding for Fiber.
When Google Fiber announced its rollout strategy, KC Digital Drive proactively led the charge to make sure fiberhoods across the digital divide met their goals. A community effort led by many who participated in Give Us a Gig, Paint the Town Green had a simple goal: To make sure that all neighborhoods eligible to receive Google Fiber met their minimum pre-registration threshold.
Here’s how it worked: When Google Fiber announced its cable/Internet package in June 2012, it drew lines on a map of Kansas City. Called “Fiberhoods,” these areas had to reach a minimum uptake rate, as signified by a portion of the population going online and paying a $10 preregistration fee. When they reached their goal, their Fiberhood turned green on Google’s online map. If they did not reach the minimum (usually 10-20% of pop.), Google Fiber would pass over, leaving all households and community structures without a connection.
Further upping the stakes, as part of its Community Connections program, Google Fiber invited city leaders to choose a certain number of community buildings, such as libraries and schools, that could receive a free connection if the household was met. This made it crucial for all residents to understand the value of community fiber whether they wanted to become subscribers or not.
Marshalling donations from contributors such as LINC and the Friends of the KC Library, as well as dollars gathered over the crowdfunding platform Neighbor.ly, Paint the Town Green purchased thousands of dollars in pre-paid debit cards to distribute to community centers. In a whirlwind of activity, PTTG volunteers took the phones and set up shop at community touchpoints in lower-income areas of town, where many residents could not afford the $10 fee or did not have the capacity to make the payment online themselves.
By the end of the rally period on September 9. 2012, PTTG had contributed to the citywide total of 90% of fiberhoods reaching their goal, with many houses going green across the digital divide.
Kansas City Public Schools