Google Fiber pulls out of Louisville, KY

Google Fiber is leaving Louisville, KY, demonstrating the significant challenges to building fiber networks, even for well-capitalized companies. In 2017, Google signaled that it would change its broadband architecture in Louisville from a fiber network to a fiber-wireless hybrid. At the time, Speed Matters noted that the plan was light on details and questioned whether the technology worked -- or whether it was a managed retreat from the broadband infrastructure industry. It seems we have our answer.

Louisville is the city where Google first pushed One Touch, Make Ready (OTMR) policy. OTMR allows companies like Google Fiber that want to add equipment to a utility pole to move existing equipment, even if it doesn’t belong to that company, and violates collective bargaining agreements. The OTMR ordinance in Louisville resulted in shoddy work by contractors. Eventually, the Pai FCC adopted federal OTMR rules. After using Louisville as its regulatory playground, Google Fiber is pulling out.

This is the latest in a series of setbacks for the company. Google Fiber halted its build-out in 2016 and cancelled customer accounts in Kansas City, one of the company’s flagship locations.

Links:

Google Fiber made 'tough decision' to pull service from Louisville (Louisville Courier Journal, Feb. 7, 2019)

Google Fiber halts build-out (Speed Matters, Oct. 27, 2016)

Google Fiber cancels customer accounts in flagship Kansas City (Speed Matters, Mar. 23, 2017)