Google’s high-speed web plans hit snags

Editor’s note: Nevada City had been an applicant for Google Fiber, as you might recall.

“Google parent Alphabet Inc. is rethinking its high-speed internet business after initial rollouts proved more expensive and time consuming than anticipated, a stark contrast to the fanfare that greeted its launch six years ago,” as the Wall Street Journal is reporting.

“Alphabet’s internet provider, Google Fiber, has spent hundreds of millions dollars digging up streets and laying fiber-optic cables in a handful of cities to offer web connections roughly 30 times faster than the U.S. average.

“Now the company is hoping to use wireless technology to connect homes, rather than cables, in about a dozen new metro areas, including Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas, according to people familiar with the company’s plans. As a result Alphabet has suspended projects in San Jose, Calif., and Portland, Ore.

“Meanwhile, the company is trying to cut costs and accelerate its expansion elsewhere by leasing existing fiber or asking cities or power companies to build the networks instead of building its own.

“Google’s announcement in 2010 of its Fiber project sparked high expectations at a time when telephone companies were perceived as moving slowly in rolling out faster broadband service. More than 1,000 cities applied and Google began service in the Kansas City area in November 2012 (including Nevada City).

Today, Google Fiber has reached just six metro areas, the latest example of the challenges facing digital companies seeking to move into more traditional lines of business.

“If you’re in the telecommunications industry for 150 years, there are no surprises here,” said Jonathan Reichental, chief technology officer of the city of Palo Alto, Calif. “But if you’re a software company getting into the business for the first time, this is a completely new world.”

The rest of the article is here.

About jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.
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