Google will pay Louisville millions to fix roads after failed Fiber experiment
Google has agreed to pay the Louisville Metro Government $3.84 million over the next 20 months to repair the damage caused to the city by its ill-fated Google Fiber service. The money will be used by local authorities to remove the company’s infrastructure from the city’s roads and to repave areas where needed after the service ceased operation yesterday.
”Infrastructure in neighborhoods and public properties affected by Google Fiber will look as good or better than they did before the company began construction,” according to Louisville Metro’s Chief of Civic Innovation and Technology Grace Simrall.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, announced the service would be ending in the city back in February. The company’s problems in Louisville stem from its decision to lay its cabling just inches beneath the road’s surface, in part because incumbents like AT&T attempted to block Google from sharing its utility poles. Unfortunately, this “shallow trenching” method meant that the cabling became exposed and damaged over time, and eventually Google Fiber decided to end the service rather than have to rebuild the entire network.
Google said in February that the lessons learned from the failure of using such shallow trenches “have already made us better in our other Google Fiber cities.” The service remains available in 16 other cities including San Diego, San Francisco, Austin, and Seattle.
Along with paying to repair the city’s roads, Google has also contributed $150,000 to the city’s digital inclusion fund which provides refurbished computers to those on low-incomes and helps to provide cheap internet to residents in public housing.
“Discontinuing service in Louisville was a very difficult business decision for Google Fiber, and we will forever be grateful to Mayor Fischer and his team for their commitment to the residents of Louisville and their dedication to driving internet connectivity and digital inclusion across the city,” said Google Fiber’s General Manager Mark Strama.
Despite Google Fiber’s failure in Louisville, its involvement appears to have spurred other providers to offer more fiber services. AT&T has outpaced Google at connecting homes to fiber internet according to CNET, even if its service is more expensive than Google’s.
”It’s clear that Google Fiber’s presence in Louisville led other providers to step up and increase investment in Louisville, and that was good news for consumers everywhere,” Louisville Metro’s Grace Simrall said.