Prairie Village administration taking fresh look at how to lure Google Fiber

Consider the Prairie Village administration office a bit flummoxed – and perhaps somewhat annoyed — at the news last week that Google Fiber had cut deals with three northeast Johnson County cities to offer its highspeed internet and television services to residents.

“You could say it caught us off guard,” City Administrator Quinn Bennion told the City Council Monday. “Apparently they’ve been in talks for six months. It wasn’t taken very well by the rest of us.”

Bennion said the news came as especially shocking because he — along with city leaders from other Johnson County cities — met with Google Community Manager Rachel Hack on March 7. During that meeting, Bennion said, Hack made it clear that the company wasn’t looking to expand into Johnson County anytime soon.

“We heard, ‘There’s no chance right now. We’re not looking into that. Maybe sometime a few years down the road,'” Bennion said.

But the announcement that Westwood, Westwood Hills and Mission Woods would be part of a “future rally” of Google Fiberhoods has Bennion and Mayor Ron Shaffer taking a fresh look at how they could attract the company to bring its desirable services a bit further south.

“We are going to do what we can,” Bennion said.

Among those actions, Bennion said, would be talking with the administrations of the three cities that will get service. Additionally, he said, Bennion and Shaffer will be meeting with Prairie Village resident Mark Logan, who started a petition to bring Fiber to the area.