Google Fiber Reins It In

October 26th, 2016 by · 10 Comments

Google and its Alphabet parent is apparently not quite as hot on fiber as it once was.  According to this post yesterday on Google Fiber's blog, they are retrenching and pausing their plans to move into some new cities.  The division is apparently letting go some 9% of its workforce, and the head of the company's Access unit, Craig Barratt, is leaving as well.  

Google Fiber generated and leveraged a popular wave to kick off FTTH services in Kansas City, and then followed up with a few dozen more markets.  The idea was to prove that it wasn't as hard as incumbents like AT&T, Verizon, and CenturyLink were saying it was to make the business model work.  But reality seems to finally be catching up with those dreams.  The buzz has moved on, and I guess the prospect of actually grinding out deployments, whether aerial or underground, is less appealing than it used to be to the Silicon Valley giant.

So most of the company's 'potential fiber cities' are now on hold, which AT&T is probably cheering right now since most are in their incumbent territory.  Just what happens next for Google Fiber is unclear.  They could continue to operate it of course, just scaling back on the larger plans and focusing on the markets they have already invested in.  But they could also look to sell it, and that could create an interesting situation to say the least.

Who would the buyer be?  Now that's a question I'll have to think about.

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Categories: FTTH

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10 Comments So Far


  • Anonymous says:

    In my opinion, controlling access is still a top priority for Google since it allows them to spread their advertising tentacles deeper into each home and business. However, as we all know, telecom is a dirty and capex-intensive business with ROW, trenching, pole attachments, etc. Google just had to learn the hard way. The latest buzz about wireless from them and AT&T is intriguing but haven’t we heard this tune before, e.g. WIMAX? Maybe one or both of them have re-discovered some spectrum or technology (BPL?) that will bring this capability to fruition. Of course, this is why we all love this business. It changes daily, well almost.

    • Anonymous says:

      “It changes daily”

      Like, say, reverting to the 150 year old method of running wires, realizing its hard and expensive, stopping, and laying a bunch of people off? That sounds like the same old telco to me. They looked in the mirror and asked if that fiber made them look old and fat.

      It does. Run away. Fast.

    • Anonymous says:

      having failed to re-invent wireline, they will now re-invent wireless……

  • b says:

    Google has always prided itself on being smarter than everyone else.

    But when you enter the old school fray of physically trenching, laying fiber and selling in small increments…and you do it the SAME WAY as the incumbents before you…you really aren’t that smart.

  • moejurray says:

    Google will be turning to fixed-point wireless as their recent purchase of Webpass shows.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t see how Webpass is going to influence single-family home deployments, considering their own website states they do not service buildings with fewer than 10 units.

      PtP Wireless makes sense with proper unit density and buildings tall enough to obtain LOS.

      Single-family homes is a completely different ballgame.

  • Truth TELLER says:

    Their team in the markets are young, educated, but never lead any form of a team, ITs a mess, a real mess. THE ATLANTA AND CHARLOTTE LEADERS ARE BEYOND A JOKE.

    This will end poorly for all

    • Anonymous says:

      Funny you mentioned this point. I attended a coffee meet-and-greet in one of those markets and mentioned that i had worked in the industry. By the end of the Q&A, they were deferring questions to me.

  • Anonymous says:

    Google biggest problem was there leadership they had no idea what they were doing in the OSP world, and that lack of OSP leadership is why this project was domed from the start , when an interview with Google is more about your feelings than your OSP experience its no wonder they couldn’t build a fiber network there feeling were getting in the way.

  • It reminds me of Covad (and Rhythms and NorthPoint) who had very little telco experience. Thought it would be easy and realized that the monopolies (the Duopoly of MSP and ILEC) would trip them up every chance they got. Less than 200K subscribers….

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