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Google Fiber neglects old 'Don't be evil' credo, exits Louisville (Update: Will pay millions)
Update, April 16, 2019 (10:20 AM ET): According to an official Lousiville, KY, website, Google has agreed to pay a little less than $4 million to the city to repair damages from the company’s experimentations with Google Fiber. As described in the article below, Google Fiber abruptly pulled out of Louisville after experimenting with ways to distribute internet service without building expensive infrastructure.
The experimentations caused damaged city streets and millions-of-dollars in other problems.
“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.
It’s unfortunate that Google Fiber pulled out of Louisville, but at least the company isn’t leaving its mess behind.
Google Fiber remains active in 16 other U.S. cities.
Original article, February 7, 2019 (06:03 PM ET): Google Fiber announced today that it would be pulling its service out of Louisville, Kentucky. As the search giant’s internet service has been seen as an experiment, this news might not come as a surprise. Unfortunately, for the citizens of the city, this decision is just another disappointing milestone in its relationship with the company.
Unless you’ve lived in Louisville for the last couple of years, you probably don’t know about the drama caused by Google bringing its internet service to the city. Long story short, Google requested a law to be changed that would allow it to move other company’s equipment on utility poles, Louisville has spent close to $400,000 defending the law, and it turns out that Google never even needed the change in the first place.
Additionally, when installing the fiber lines, the company experimented with a shallow trenching method that would speed up deployment. But instead of adequately covering the cuts with asphalt, Google Fiber coated things with sealants that are supposed to only be used in temporary situations.
Google did fix the roads eventually, but only after community backlash over how bad the streets looked and fiber cables started popping out of the sealant.
Why is Google Fiber leaving Louisville?
The company states that while it has learned from its mistakes, it doesn’t feel like it’s living up to the “high standards” it demonstrated in other cities. Google Fiber believes that it would have to rebuild its entire network in Louisville to fix things, but that isn’t something the company is willing to do.
Fiber hasn’t completely closed up shop just yet. The internet provider is set to cut the network on April 15 and will provide service for current Louisville customers for the next two months for free.
In the meantime, Fiber has stated that it will work with customers to minimize disruptions. This is vague, but it likely means that the company will help transition everyone over to a new internet provider. It isn’t clear if the company’s fiber lines and equipment will be removed when the company leaves,
This decision shouldn’t have any impact on other cities where Fiber is deployed.