Last week it was revealed that Google Fiber might be scaling down, both in number of new cities and in staff size. It is not a surprising move for a brand that has never managed to gain marketshare even close to what they had predicted. This lack of customer acceptance would, naturally, have led to financial troubles for the brand.
While parent company Alphabet might be concerned about how to handle the news, AT&T seems to be enjoying what they are hearing. AT&T and other telecom companies have said for years that building out a market, especially into the far reaches of a market, is difficult and expensive. Consumers have complained that other countries have internet speeds above that in the US, and carriers have always responded by saying that smaller, denser countries are easier to roll out major upgrades.
AT&T VP of Federal Regulatory Joan Marsh, who oversees many of the stumbling blocks that make these build-outs so difficult and expensive, wrote a blog post in which she explains why Google has not succeeded the way they thought they would. In it, she talks about Google's misunderstanding of how pole access works, the intricacies of interacting with local governments and the challenges of getting permits block-to-block.
It will be interesting to see how Google Fiber decides to proceed. Will they rely on their Webpass acquisition to avoid poles and city ordinances? Will they finish the cities they are currently working on and abandon the project? Obviously, only time will tell, but I suspect, like Marsh, that they will continue their experiment with the same zeal and confusion with which they started. Marsh's view of that future looks like this,
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