October 26, 2016

Google Pulls Back on Fiber Roll-Out

If you’re one of the millions of Americans eagerly awaiting Google’s ultra-high-speed Fiber internet service in your town, don’t hold your breath.

Facing challenges from rivals and faster technologies alike, Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent holding company, said Tuesday night that it’s “pausing” rollout of the service as it ponders “changes to focus our business and product strategy.”

As part of the reorganization, Craig Barratt will step down as chief executive of the Access division, which runs the Fiber program, the company said. He will assume an unspecified “advisory role,” and the division will be “reducing our employee base,” it said.

The company didn’t say how many Fiber employees will be laid off in Tuesday night’s statement, titled “Advancing our amazing bet.” But it promised that Fiber will continue working in the eight metro areas where it’s already up or running: Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C.; Kansas City, Mo.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Provo and Salt Lake City, Utah.

And Alphabet said work on Fiber will continue in the four metro areas where it’s already under way: Huntsville, Ala.; San Antonio, Texas; San Diego; and San Francisco.

As for everyone else, however, “we’re going to pause our operations and offices while we refine our approaches,” it said. That means major cities that Alphabet had identified as potential Fiber markets are out of luck, at least for now, including Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.

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