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October 27, 2016

Google Fiber halts expansion plans, CEO steps down

The Alphabet unit is also reducing staff in several locations.

By CBR Staff Writer

Google Fiber has halted plans to roll out fiber optic cables across several US cities, as the company changes its strategy to use mainly wireless for offering high-speed Internet service.

Craig Barratt, CEO of Alphabet’s Access division who had been in charge of Google Fiber, made the announcement in a blog post, saying that he would be staying on only in an advisory role after stepping down.

Google Fiber was first announced in 2010 and more than 1,000 towns and cities showed interest to participate it.

The service was first introduced to the Kansas City metropolitan area, including 20 Kansas City area suburbs within the first three years.

Google Fiber already provides internet access in nine US cities, and has committed to deploy its technology in additional four cities.

Work on Google Fiber will continue in the cities where it has been launched or is under construction.

Barratt said operations will pause in potential Fiber cities where it has been in exploratory discussions.

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“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,” Barratt said.

He attributes the shift to Google’s focus on new technology and deployment methods to make superfast Internet more abundant than it is at present.

In July this year, the Federal Communications Commission unanimously voted to open nearly 11 GHz of high-frequency spectrum for 5G.

The move opened up opportunities for companies such as AT&T and Verizon to use wireless to offer high-bandwidth data services using the spectrum.

Google Fiber acquired Webpass, a wireless Internet service provider which offers high speed Internet in San Francisco for $60 monthly.

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