It'll be a small, negligible piece of Google's overall numbers, but yesterday's announcement from the Louisville Metro Government is a reminder of why companies without Google's deep pockets don't often try unproven technologies for FTTH. Google Fiber will be paying $3.8M to clean up from its "nano-trenching" buildout in the Kentucky city.
Google Fiber announced its exit from the city a couple months ago after admitting the infrastructure just wasn't going to work. Burying fiber just a couple inches deep led, rather unsurprisingly, to exposed fiberoptic cables in neighborhood where they were installed. Attempts to correct the problem failed, and now Google will simply pay for the city's efforts to remove the fiber and sealant plus the above-ground infrastructure, and repair pavement. If only there were simply an Undo button, eh?
While they clearly lost their bet on this technology, in a way making the attempt was an object lesson in why Google launched Google Fiber in the first place. Nobody else would have taken this chance, because they couldn't have absorbed the risk. Google entered the FTTH business to try to prove the concept, the technology, and the business model so that others would be able to follow their example. In some cities they succeeded to a degree, but in Louisville they did not.
Now everyone else from service providers to cities can just write off nano-trenching as an option unless the technology greatly improves. Besides, 5G is nearly here and will solve all our lack of FTTH problems for free, right?
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