Google Fiber Plans US Network Expansion – Report

The head of Google Fiber has confirmed that the high-speed internet service provider is planning to “add a little bit more build velocity.”

CEO Dinni Jain made the comments in his first media interview with Reuters, since becoming chief executive of Google Fiber in February 2018.

Google Fiber began life as a moonshot project back in 2010, but soon developed into a commercial business. It operates in selected parts of the United States including Kansas City, Austin (Texas), Provo (Utah), as well as Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, Salt Lake City, and San Antonio, providing 1 Gbps connectivity services.

Dormant firm?

The moonshot project spun out of Google as an independent unit back in 2015, but since then very little has been heard from the firm.

That said, in February 2020 Google Fiber announced it was dropping its TV package in order to solely focus of providing Gigabit Internet services to parts of the United States

It made the change because the way people watch TV had changed, it said at the time, and because of the number of TV and streaming options now available.

It was understood that the cost of licensing TV content could have been a factor in Google Fiber’s decision.

But the unit has had other setbacks as well.

In 2019 Google Fibre had to permanently suspend operations in Louisville, Kentucky after it used a fiber installation method called “shallow trenching” (in the UK it is called micro trenching) that aimed to speed up deployment on fiber (it uses a narrow and shallow trench compared to deeper more traditional installation methods).

Google Fiber found this technique unsuitable for long-term fibre deployments.

Network expansion

Now Reuters has reported that Google Fiber plans to bring its high-speed internet service to multiple cities in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nebraska and Nevada over the next several years.

This is its first big expansion since it spun out of Alphabet in 2015.

Dinni Jain told Reuters on Wednesday that his team was finally prepared to “add a little bit more build velocity” after over four years of sharpening operations.

The anticipated expansion to 22 metro areas across the United States from 17 today includes previously announced projects to launch in Mesa, Arizona and Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The choices were based the company’s findings of where speeds lag.

“There was an impression 10 years ago that Google Fiber was trying to build the entire country,” Jain reportedly said. “What we are gesturing here is, ‘No, we are not trying to build the entire country.’”

Jain reportedly declined to comment on Fiber’s financial results or fundraising plans.

“The intent is to build businesses that will be successful in and of their own right and that is what we are trying to do at Google Fiber for sure,” Jain reportedly said. He added that the company could not rely on dipping into “a rich parent’s wallet.”

Jain reportedly said customers contacted Fiber a third less than what he has witnessed at similar companies, and he described sign-ups as “very healthy” and higher than what he expected before joining.

Fiber will continue to pursue wireless service, through its Webpass brand, for multi-unit buildings, Jain added. In some cases, it will lease local fiber networks from other providers, Reuters reported.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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