Google Fiber isn’t dead, it’s growing

Google Fiber, the division of Alphabet focused on providing high-speed Internet access in the United States, has ambitious plans to expand its fiber optic services over the next three to five years, the company announced in an article. of blogging. It wants to launch fiber optic services in five new states, including previously announced plans to enter Arizona and Colorado, as well as Nebraska, Nevada and Idaho. In total, Reuters Reports that Google Fiber hopes to expand to 22 metro areas, up from 17 today.

It’s a big turnaround from 2016, when the company reportedly laid off 9% of its workforce and suspended plans to launch services in more than half a dozen cities. Over the next few years, reports surfaced that the company was canceling hundreds of installations in existing metropolitan areas like Kansas City, and left Louisville, Kentucky entirely after an unfortunate experience laying fiber cabling in ultra-shallow trenches. .

Now, however, it looks like the company is in a position to grow, with CEO Dinni Jain saying Reuters that the team is ready to “add a little more construction speed”. Its launch in West Des Moines, Iowa in March was its first new state in five years, and the following month it said it would be expanding to Des Moines. Reuters notes that Google Fiber did more construction in 2021 than in “previous years combined.”

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Despite his hopes of regaining momentum, Jain says Google Fiber’s ambitions are modest. “10 years ago it felt like Google Fiber was trying to build the whole country,” he said. Reuters. “What we’re signaling here is, ‘No, we’re not trying to build the whole country. In addition to expanding into new states, Jain’s blog post indicates that expansion will continue into existing metropolitan areas.

Google Fiber dates back to 2010 and was originally launched to drive adoption of faster internet speeds at lower cost, partly by offering it outright and partly by lobbying incumbent US providers to be competitive. As a former Time Warner executive, Jain says he felt the pressure from Google firsthand. “We were so paranoid,” he says Reuters.

News of Google Fiber’s expansion plans comes at a time of belt-tightening at Google and the tech industry in general. Last month, the company announced a two-week hiring freeze as it reviewed its staffing needs, making it the latest tech giant to take stock amid a deteriorating economic climate. . Alphabet has also been more willing to shut down experimental projects in recent years. It shut down its balloon internet service last year and liquidated its energy kite division in 2020.

“The intention is to build businesses that will succeed in and of their own right and that’s what we try to do at Google Fiber for sure,” Jain said. Reuters.

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