Google to Pay $3.84M to Undo Louisville Project’s Effects

April 16th, 2019 by · 6 Comments

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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Categories: FTTH · Government Regulations

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6 Comments So Far


  • Anonymous says:

    While glad that the deep pocket Google tried this experiment, you are very right. Imagine a total risk-averse and bare minimum get-by company like Centurylink doing this? Not even fathomable.

    Combined with a risk-averse municipalities and state govs who are busy adding regulations rather than trying to open up the horizons, good luck with the whole rural effort, as well.

  • bm says:

    Google was/is arrogant. they think they can short-cut it and smarter than all the legacy players. You can tell they were not all in, as the leases they would do for their pops/regen sites were only for 5 years. Look for them to pull out of more cities and eventually sell off the fiber business. 5G will finish it off for good…..

    • Anonymous says:

      Arrogant or not, I applaud them for at least trying to break free of the inane way of doing things from 40 years ago. Its why they had to try, because all of your jingo is what has made telecom suck. Anyone who figures out the formula to leapfrog over piss poor LEC behavior and performance is going to get instant points in my book!

    • mhammett says:

      Legacy has a lot of unnecessary baggage. People unincumbered with that baggage are needed to find new ways for independents to build. Obviously, independents aren’t standing around waiting, though, because there are new FTTx providers every day.

      You overestimate 5G.

  • Peter Radizeski says:

    They were never in it to win it. They were in it to push the Duopoly to do it. To experiment a little so that non-Duopoly companies would have a road map to FTTH. Quite a few operators did FTTU after watching Google Fiber experiments. So actually it worked.

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