Google Fiber Slows Down


Google is slowing down the expansion of its fiber network. Independent sources suggest Google Fiber was proving too expensive to install.

The project involves installing fiber directly into homes and businesses, mainly in specific neighborhoods that have shown a large degree of interest in the product. Customers can choose between a 100 Mbps connection and a 1Gbps connection, with the option of a TV service. There’s also an option for a free, low-speed internet connection.

Craig Barratt, who headed the project, is stepping down. He announced that while Google will continue installation in cities where work has already begun, it’s going to “pause our operations” in other cities where it had begun talks with local officials to bring the service, including Chicago and San Diego. There’ll also be job cuts both at these locations and centrally.

Barratt offered no specific details of why Google has made the call, simply saying “we have refined our plan going forward” and noting a “focus on new technology and deployment methods.”

Analysts have inferred that the cost of installing the cables was proving too expensive. One theory is it may instead look at getting large fiber hubs in neighborhoods and then use wireless to get the signal into homes.

While that may be more efficient, it might be a struggle to reliably and consistently get the speeds available through wired fiber connections. Of course, it may be that Google has figured out that simply having an alternative to traditional cable company broadband is the real selling point rather than the maximum speed.