HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Google Fiber announced in a blog post that it intends to scale back its expansion effort nationwide, but a spokesperson for Huntsville Utilities says the move will not impact Google Fiber in Huntsville.
“This project is on track and will continue on schedule,” says Gary Whitley.
What sets Huntsville apart from the rest of the country, is the fact Google isn’t spending any money on installation. It’s actually Huntsville Utilities’ fiber network, and Google will just be leasing the space. “The model we’re using for our broadband network is unique in that Huntsville Utilities is building the backbone broadband fiber network for our own use. For our future smart grid network,” says Whitley.
A blog post by Craig Barratt, CEO of Access — which runs Google Fiber, also serves as his resignation.
“Some of our efforts will remain unchanged, but others will be impacted,” Barratt writes. “In terms of our existing footprint, in the cities where we’ve launched or are under construction, our work will continue.”
The blog post does go into greater detail for hold-ups in other places:
For most of our “potential Fiber cities” — those where we’ve been in exploratory discussions — we’re going to pause our operations and offices while we refine our approaches. We’re ever grateful to these cities for their ongoing partnership and patience, and we’re confident we’ll have an opportunity to resume our partnership discussions once we’ve advanced our technologies and solutions. In this handful of cities that are still in an exploratory stage, and in certain related areas of our supporting operations, we’ll be reducing our employee base.
It appears the cities referenced, where efforts will be paused, include Dallas, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Portland, San Jose and Tampa.
Huntsville Utilities Spokesperson Gary Whitley tells WHNT News 19 that Google gave them a heads up before the blog post went live and that Google has assured them the partnership remains on track.
Because Google has evidently struggled to turn a profit, installing fiber lines elsewhere, it has made some wonder if Huntsville Utilities made a mistake in installing the lines themselves.
We asked Gary Whitley about that, he told us, “That is of no concern to us here in Huntsville.”
Northeast Huntsville will see the fiber internet come online first. It’s scheduled to be ready for customers to sign up by March 2017.