Google Fiber, via the unit’s blog, has revealed it will stop providing gigabit broadband services in Louisville, KY, on April 15. The expense of upgrading its fiber to the premises (FTTP) infrastructure after a poor first installation was cited as the reason for the retreat.
Google Fiber launched internet-only services in Louisville in October 2017 after a fraught FTTP installation process. The company found itself, alongside Louisville town officers, in court after AT&T filed suit regarding the manner in which Google Fiber gained access to AT&T’s polls (see “AT&T sues City of Louisville over Google Fiber pole attachment rules”). The company also experimented with a new trenching technique designed to enable shallower and therefore more rapid fiber cable deployment.
However, problems with the implementation of the new technique (at least some surrounding the sealant as well as excessive disruption, as reported by WDRB.com this past August) soon appeared. Residents in the Belknap neighborhood reported tripping over exposed fiber-optic cables. Google Fiber said last summer that it would repair the installations, and press reports indicate the company replaced the sealant with asphalt in at least some locations.
But it now appears Google Fiber still isn't satisfied with the state of its FTTP network in the city -- and doesn't want to spend the money to upgrade it. “We’re not living up to the high standards we set for ourselves, or the standards we’ve demonstrated in other Fiber cities,” reads the unsigned blog. “We would need to essentially rebuild our entire network in Louisville to provide the great service that Google Fiber is known for, and that's just not the right business decision for us.”
Current Google Fiber subscribers will receive service free of charge until April 15. The service provider says it will do what it can to minimize disruption as it shuts down in the market.
Google says the retreat from Louisville will have no impact on its activities in its other markets. The company also reports that it has improved the shallow trenching technique and applied it in other markets.
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