Google Fiber is one of Alphabet’s most ambitious projects, and one that continues to remain in a state of flux about its future direction. Amid reports of high profile exits, layoffs, employees moved to other departments, plan to reduce investments and work on wireless technologies, there are now reports that Google may be slowing things down in the Kansas market.
According to Bloomberg, Google has been reaching out to its customers via email about cancellation, saying:
“Although we’ve been working hard to bring you service, we’re unable to build our network to connect your home or business at this time. Unfortunately, that means we’ll need to cancel your Fiber account.”
But Google Fiber pulling out from Kansas City may not be the real story here. Meanwhile, something else seems to be happening in Kentucky. See the response Courier-Journal got from the Google Fiber Team:
“We’ve made great progress working with the city and are excited to find innovative new ways to deploy superfast internet. We’ll make a full announcement in Louisville at the right time.”
Chris Poynter, a spokesman for Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, would say only that “we continue to work with Google Fiber.” He added that the city and Google are laying “the foundation for the company to have a presence in our city.”
Now the question is: “What are these “innovative new ways to deploy superfast internet”?” Around June last year, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt told its shareholders that Alphabet is actively working on Wi-Fi technology.
“Also known as millimeter wave technology, the system would serve as a replacement for otherwise expensive infrastructure connecting Google Fiber to individual homes and businesses, a process Schmidt described as “cheaper than digging up your garden.” Schmidt said he met with Larry Page and Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat on Tuesday to discuss the technology.” – The Verge
In an earlier article about Google filing for testing with the FCC, we gave several reasons why we thought the filing in question was related to wireless Internet delivery rather than about testing a wireless VR headset, as Business Insider had claimed. Here’s that piece:
We still don’t know how far Google has come on its journey to start replacing fiber with Wi-Fi as a means of giving people Internet connectivity. Google is not the only company that’s trying to take the wireless route to solve our bandwidth problems. Facebook has its own Wi-Fi plans, and so do most carriers around the world.
But the fact that Google has decided to slow down its rollout in one state and go to the extent of refunding deposits, while promising another state the possibility of “innovative new ways”, can mean one of two things: either Google Fiber is on its way down, or Google Fiber is sitting very close to a path-breaking innovation.
We hope it’s the latter, and we hope we see it sooner rather than later. Follow us as we dig into Google Fiber and its trysts with wireless Internet delivery.
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