from the a-little-something-called-competition dept
When Google Fiber launched again in 2010, it was heralded as a sport changer for the broadband business. Google Fiber, we had been instructed, would revolutionize the business by taking Silicon Valley cash and disrupting the viciously uncompetitive and anti-competitive telecom sector.
Initially, issues labored out effectively; cities tripped over themselves providing all method of perks to the corporate within the hopes of breaking free from the broadband duopoly logjam. Google obtained limitless free press for doing one thing really disruptive. And in markets the place Google Fiber was deployed, costs dropped thanks to this added competition (fancy that!).
The enjoyable didn’t final.
In late 2016, a brand new period of Alphabet execs started getting chilly ft in regards to the excessive prices and sluggish returns of the venture, and successfully mothballed all the factor — with out admitting that’s what they had been doing. The corporate blew by several CEOs in just some months, laid off a whole bunch of staff, froze any real expansion, and cancelled countless installations for customers who had been ready years.
And whereas Google made numerous noise about how it will be shifting from fiber to wi-fi to probably lower prices, these guarantees also remained stuck in neutral.
However there are some faint indications that the Google Fiber freeze is perhaps thawing considerably. Final yr, Google announced it had began working with officers in West Des Moines, Iowa on a possible enlargement into town. Extra lately, the corporate indicated it was increasing into Mesa, Arizona. And it’s additionally pushing harder into select portions of Utah:
“We’ve expanded to a bunch of recent cities round our Utah footprint. We’ve additionally expanded to Smyrna, for instance, round Tennessee, inside our Nashville footprint,” Strama instructed Authorities Know-how. “We’ll proceed to be increasing round our current footprint for the long run.”
To be clear, many of those efforts stay considerably… modest, and it’s clear Google Fiber’s general ambitions have scaled again. In a rustic the place 83 million reside beneath a broadband monopoly, and someplace between 20-40 Individuals lack any broadband in any respect (see our recent report on this), some scattered deployments in restricted parts of mid-tier cities can solely go to this point.
Nonetheless, it’s good to see Google making an attempt all the identical. For some time there after the freeze, it appeared completely attainable the corporate may pack it in and promote the community (very similar to it sold out its principles on ideas like web neutrality). And whereas Google Fiber (very similar to Google) isn’t the identical disruptive power it was in 2010, in relation to mediocre U.S. broadband, each final bit helps.