Alphabet’s expansive project to provide ultra-high speed internet nationwide, called Google Fiber, is shutting down operations in one of its cities.
The Google Fiber team said in a blog post Thursday it would be “saying goodbye” to Louisville, where it first launched Fiber internet service in October 2017. Google says trying to maintain service in Louisville would require the company to “essentially rebuild our entire network,” which it says is “just not the right business decision.”
The tech giant says it’s shutting down operations in Louisville due to “challenges that have been disruptive to residents and caused service issues for our customers.” Louisville has experienced infrastructure issues due to Google Fiber installation. Residents complained that the Google Fiber cables were installed sloppily and ineffectively in their neighborhoods, leaving cables exposed in the street.
The Fiber network will officially shut down in Louisville on April 15, Google says. The shutdown in Louisville shouldn’t affect Google Fiber service in any of the 11 other cities with Fiber access, the company says.
“We’re committed to doing right by the community, which welcomed us as we tested methods of delivering high-speed Internet in new and different ways,” Google wrote on its blog. “We are deeply grateful to [Louisville] Mayor Greg Fischer, the City of Louisville and its residents for their partnership and spirit of innovation over the past two years.”
Google Fiber is operated by Access, a subsidiary of Alphabet, which is also Google’s parent company. The move to leave Louisville comes almost exactly a year after Access
Google Fiber began life as an ambitious effort at its namesake company to solve America’s broadband gap by installing miles of fiberoptic internet cables under the street. Fiber internet access is incredibly fast — it claims to achieve speeds up to 1,000 megabits per second, while the average US internet speed in 2018 was only 96.25 megabits per second.
Access, for its part, has had its fair share of issues and setbacks in recent years. The company was forced to pause its rollout of Google Fiber to new cities in October 2016. Hundreds of employees working on Google Fiber were moved to other units within Alphabet in 2017. Access got a new CEO in February 2018— its third in what had been just over a year.
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