Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Google Fiber Cuts Staff, Pauses Operations While Retooling Strategy

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Google Fiber Cuts Staff, Pauses Operations While Retooling Strategy

Article excerpt

Originally launched in 2011 on Stanford University's campus in Palo Alto, Calif., Google Fiber had an ambitious plan to use optical cables to stretch incredibly high speed broadband internet and cable television services to cities across the country.

Now following a consistent lack of revenue due to low enrollment numbers for the high speed service, Craig Barratt, the CEO of Google Access (an Alphabet Inc. subsidiary) is stepping down. The company is also pausing plans to introduce Google Fiber to new cities and planning to lay off nine percent of its workforce, between 100 and 200 employees.

"Just as any competitive business must, we have to continue not only to grow, but also stay ahead of the curve - pushing the boundaries of technology, business, and policy - to remain a leader in delivering superfast Internet," Barratt wrote in a blog post Tuesday, announcing the forthcoming changes. He continued on to say, "we have refined our plan going forward to achieve these objectives."

This comes as the most recent setback for Alphabet subsidiaries following the recent resignations of the CEOs for both Nest and Project Wing. Tony Fadell, the CEO of Nest, the smart-home company Google bought in 2014 for $3.2 billion, stepped down in June of this year, while Project Wing, Alphabet's experiment drone program, announced CEO Dave Vos's resignation last week.

When Google Fiber launched its service citywide for the first time in Kansas City in 2011, the company immediately hit roadblocks in connecting the service through certain areas. In order to qualify for service, neighborhoods had pre-register a specific percentage of households. While the city's affluent neighborhoods immediately qualified, lower-income areas by and large did not, according to Wired.

And this scenario was not isolated to Kansas City. The Google Fiber service encountered similar complications in cities across the nation, leading to overarching questions about fairness and equality within the broadband industry and specifically with respect to Google Fiber. …

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