Google Fiber shuts down Louisville service, impacting businesses and telecommuters

In a blow to faster internet speeds for businesses and telecommuters, Google Fiber will shutter its operations in Louisville, Kentucky, after the city experienced the fastest launch from construction announcement to signing up customers in the network’s history, Google announced in a Thursday blog post.

Derby City’s rollout in October 2017—the same year as that in Huntsville, Alabama, and San Antonio, Texas—was unique, in that it was the first city planned to be built solely on Google Fiber’s infrastructure that used wireless technology for the connections to homes and businesses, according to a TechRepublic investigative report.

SEE: 5G technology: A business leader’s guide (Tech Pro Research)

Google also used Louisville as a trial city for a different construction method of microtrenching—placing fiber optic cable in very shallow trenches cut into sidewalks and streets. This method is generally considered less intrusive than traditional means, which require larger trenches, as TechRepublic reported.

However, this method proved to be disruptive to Louisville residents, and caused service issues for Google Fiber customers, leading to the decision to shutter the service, according to the post.

“We’re not living up to the high standards we set for ourselves, or the standards we’ve demonstrated in other Fiber cities,” the post said. “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.”

Google Fiber has refined its microtrenching methods in other cities, and have seen positive outcomes, the post said.

Google will turn off Louisville’s fiber network on April 15, and will not charge customers for the next two months of service. The company said it will work with customers and partners to minimize disruption during that time.

The move will not impact any of the other Google Fiber cities (currently Kansas City, Austin, Provo, Charlotte, Atlanta, Orange County, Salt Lake City, Raleigh-Durham, Nashville, Huntsville, and San Antonio), the post said.

Google Fiber’s increased internet speeds promised to open up new possibilities for smart cities, local businesses, and remote workers who were using the service. Its shutdown in Louisville is good news for AT&T Fiber, which was involved in a lawsuit with the city over Google Fiber’s use of telephone polls.

To learn more about Google Fiber and its impact on businesses and communities, check out this TechRepublic cheat sheet.

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Image: Jason Hiner/TechRepublic

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