Google Fiber leaves Louisville, Kentucky

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Google has pulled its Google Fiber gigabit internet service from Louisville, Kentucky in the US because it is 'not up to the standard' of other regions with the service. The network will be switched off on 15 April.

A statement on the company’s blog says that this decision will not impact operations in any of the other cities served by the service, which include Charlotte, Atlanta, Orange County, Salt Lake City, Raleigh-Durham, Nashville, Kansas City, Austin, Provo, Huntsville, and San Antonio. Existing customers in Louisville will receive their last two months of service free of charge.

The Google Fiber service was brought to Louisville in October 2017, and Google says it noted at that time that ‘it was the fastest we’ve ever moved from construction announcement to signing up customers.’ This is attributed to the trialling of a number of options in Louisville, including a different type of construction method – placing fibre in more shallow trenches.

The company said in its statement: ‘Innovating means learning, and sometimes, unfortunately, you learn by failing. In Louisville, we’ve encountered challenges that have been disruptive to residents and caused service issues for our customers. We’re not living up to the high standards we set for ourselves, or the standards we’ve demonstrated in other Fiber cities. 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.

‘The lessons we’ve learned in Louisville have already made us better in our other Google Fiber cities. We’ve refined our micro trenching methods and are seeing good outcomes elsewhere. For that, and many other reasons, we are deeply grateful to Mayor Greg Fischer, the City of Louisville and its residents for their partnership and spirit of innovation over the past two years.’

The announcement comes three years after Google confirmed it would scale back its fibre to the home plans to continue work only in cities where it has already launched or was under construction, and not expand into new territories (see Google Fiber hits pause). Just five years prior to this, the company had planned to accelerate expansion to as many as 34 cities (see Google scales up its gigabit ambition).

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