Google Fiber will be pulling out of its Louisville, Kentucky market, the company said in a blog post. The decision was triggered by problems the company has encountered with a non-traditional construction method that involve digging shallower trenches than unusual in local roadways. The company said other Google Fiber markets will not be impacted.
“We were trialing a lot of things in Louisville,” said the Google Fiber blog post. In that market, the author noted, “We’ve encountered challenges that have been disruptive to residents and caused service issues for our customers. We’re not living up to the high standards we set for ourselves, or the standards we’ve demonstrated in other Fiber cities.”
Addressing the problems would have required rebuilding the entire network and “that’s just not the right business decision for us,” Google Fiber said.
Google Fiber Louisville Departure
Google Fiber first announced plans in 2017 to offer its fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) service offering speeds up to a gigabit per second in Louisville. The company’s Louisville plans came to light after a period when Google had paused its fiber network expansion plans and there was some speculation that the company might use fixed wireless service in that market. Instead, the company experimented with new installation methods such as using shallower trenches. By using shallower-than-usual trenches, microtrenching aims to save time and money on fiber installation.
The decision to pull out of Louisville doesn’t mean Google Fiber is abandoning innovative trenching methods, however. In the blog post, the company said it had “refined” its micro trenching methods and was seeing good outcomes elsewhere.
Despite Google Fiber’s plan to pull out of Louisville, local residents still may have better internet service than they did when Google Fiber announced plans to come to town. Such announcements from Google Fiber are typically met with a competitive response from incumbent broadband service providers, and Google Fiber’s Louisville plans may have played a role in AT&T’s decision about how extensively to expand its own FTTH-based service in the market.
Google Fiber’s presence in Louisville may even have played a role in AT&T’s decision to make Louisville one of its first 5G markets.