Decision made to focus solely on providing high-speed Internet services, as customer need for ‘traditional TV’ wanes
Google Fiber has announced it is dropping its TV package in order to solely focus of providing Gigabit Internet services to parts of the United States.
Google said the way people watch TV has changed and because of the number of TV and streaming options now available, “customers today just don’t need traditional TV.”
Google Fiber began life as a moonshot project back in 2010, but soon developed into a commericial business. It operates in parts of the United States including Kansas City, Austin (Texas), Provo (Utah), as well as Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, Salt Lake City, and San Antonio.
Google announced the decision to drop offering a TV service in a blog posting on the matter.
“TV. We all watch it; we all love it. That will never change,” it said. “But what will change – what has changed – is how we watch it. You no longer need pricey bundles that force you into paying for channels you’ll never watch, taking away your choice and control.”
“As we return our focus to where we started – as a gigabit Internet company – we’re also ready to challenge the status quo, to finally come right out and say it: customers today just don’t need traditional TV,” it said.
“So, as of today, Google Fiber will no longer offer a linear TV product to new customers,” it said. “For our current TV customers, we know you have come to rely on Google Fiber TV and we will continue to provide you with traditional TV service.”
Google also said that it is partnering with FuboTV, an over-the-top provider that specialises in sports programming for its customers.
It seems as though the cost of licensing TV content may have been a factor in Google Fiber’s decision.
Indeed, the Washington Post said back in 2016 that the cost of acquiring content was the biggest factor in Google Fibre Fiber stopping the deployment of its network after only rolling it out in a dozen cities.
There have been other problems for the Alphabet division in recent years.
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.