Despite being the first city to land Google Fiber, Kansas City, Kan., still made the list of the worst-connected cities in 2014.
Not only did the city make the list — it made top 10.
The National Digital Inclusion Alliance aggregated the list from the 2014 American Community Survey data released by the U.S. Census Bureau last week, showing that 34 percent of the more than 55,600 households in Kansas City, Kan., do not have Internet access. The National Digital Inclusion Alliance works to provide technology training, home broadband access and public broadband access programs.
Despite the irony, Kansas City, Kan., leads the nation in the availability of high-speed broadband according to non-profit KC Digital Drive, which leads a variety of digital initiatives in the Kansas City metro .
“We know that if people aren’t able to connect, it ultimately doesn’t matter, but having an affordable (preferably fiber) infrastructure in place is a huge first step,” KC Digital Drive’s Jason Harper writes in a blog post. “The next step is getting people connected, and Kansas City as a whole is a community that understands this and is actively working to educate our residents about the importance of connectivity to life in a digital world.”
Topping the list for worst connected cities is Brownsville, Texas, which reportedly has almost 45 percent of its more than 50,000 citizens without Internet.
The NDIA included a second list with almost identical names that are the worst connected cities for poor households, or those with a collected income of less than $35,000. On that list, Kansas City, Kan., held the No. 9 spot with almost 56 percent of more than 27,700 poor households.
Other cities that make an appearance in the top 10 on both lists in the top 10 include Detroit, Jackson, Miss., New Orleans and Miami.
The Digital Drive team is partnering with Connecting for Good and Kansas City Public Library to identify and put resources toward areas of connectivity gaps.
“Bottom line: While we may show up on today’s list of “worst-connected” cities, many smart people on both sides of the state line are working hard to make sure the Kansas City of tomorrow is on a different list altogether,” Harper writes.
Kansas City, Kan. Mayor Mark Holland’s office did not immediately respond for comment on this story.