For the first time since announcing a halt to building in October 2016, Google Fiber says it intends to extend its fiber-to-the-home Internet service to several new states.
Local approvals are still needed on the proposals. In a press release issued today, the Alphabet subsidiary stated that it is “talking to local authorities” in five states with the aim of extending Google Fiber’s fiber-to-the-home service to those areas.
Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada, and Idaho are the new states. Projects in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Mesa, Arizona, as well as three of those, have all just been announced.
In 2012, Google Fiber was introduced with ambitious intentions to transform the US consumer broadband market. It struggled to gain timely access to utility poles, and localities that granted Google Fiber quicker access to poles faced legal action from AT&T, Charter, and Comcast. One of those lawsuits against Nashville was won by AT&T and Comcast.
Google Fiber also encountered issues that it created. Buildouts were scarce, and several locals alleged that their homes were never connected to the network. Some residents in Kansas City, the initial Google Fiber buildout location, received cancellation notifications years after ordering service.
The fact that established ISPs matched Google Fiber’s gigabit speeds and prices had some beneficial effects on competition, but the impact was constrained by Google Fiber’s actual network scale. As an illustration, in 2015 AT&T matched the $70 gigabit price in Google Fiber locations but added $40 to the monthly rate in areas where it had no real rivals. Even that $70 cost involved consenting to a contentious AT&T system that tracked users’ online activities to offer tailored advertisements.
Time Warner Cable executives became “so nervous” about Google Fiber’s potential impact on internet competition, according to Jain, who served as the company’s COO before Time Warner Cable was acquired by Charter in 2016.
However, the trend changed, and in October 2016, Google Fiber announced it would “halt,” or stop, fiber activities in 10 cities where it hadn’t yet completely committed to building, and it also announced a 9 percent personnel reduction. Google Fiber agreed to pay the local government $3.84 million in Louisville, Kentucky, to remove exposed fiber cables that were left behind after the ISP’s botched nano-trenching project. Google Fiber suspended service there in 2019.
In order to offer broadband in some places where it didn’t install fiber, Google Fiber purchased the wireless ISP Webpass in 2016. Currently, its website lists wireless home Internet in seven metro areas and fiber service in twelve. As was previously mentioned in this article, Google Fiber’s release stated that fiber-to-the-home, as opposed to wireless, is the plan for the five new metro regions.