Google’s parent company Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL) has slowed down its Google Fiber project in favor of wireless Internet. Alphabet’s subsidiary will also pause its Fiber operations, lay off staff, and replace Google Access CEO Craig Barratt.
Barratt, Alphabet Senior Vice President as well, made the announcements via a post on the Google Fiber Blog on Tuesday. Neither him or Google Access, which includes Fiber, named a new CEO. Google Access operates under the Alphabet umbrella and runs Google Fiber. Barratt oversaw those operations.
A spokesperson for Google Access declined to comment. However, Alphabet has a board meeting scheduled for Wednesday ahead of the company’s earnings report on Thursday. Barratt will continue in an advisory role to Alphabet CEO Larry Page, though.
Barratt was the CEO of his connectivity company Atheros Communications until Qualcomm acquired it for $3.1 billion in 2011. He spent two years as president of the renamed Qualcomm Atheros before joining Alphabet in 2013.
The changes will affect customers and employees from Google Fiber’s potential cities
The service is now available in Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Nashville, Provo, Salt Lake City, and The Triangle.
Since Google Fiber has already committed to bringing the Internet service to Huntsville, Irvine, San Antonio, and Louisville, these plans will remain unchanged. AT&T and Charter sued Louisville to prevent the city from installing Fiber, but it won’t stop Alphabet from moving forward.
However, customers from the ten areas listed as potential Fiber cities by Google Fiber will have to wait for the service. They could also never enjoy it. Additionally, reports say around 9% of the employees working in those locations will lose their jobs.
Google Fiber’s future lies in wireless technologies like Webpass’ offerings
Google Fiber paused operations in Dallas, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, and Phoenix. Alphabet’s subsidiary removed Chicago and San Diego from the list, too. Thankfully, both cities have Webpass wireless deployments. Webpass also operates in Boston, Miami, Oakland, and San Francisco.
Google Fiber bought wireless Internet service provider Webpass in June, and the deal closed this month. Webpass has been around for 13 years providing high-speed and over-the-air gigabit Internet for business and residential customers.
Apparently, Google Fiber didn’t reach its subscriber goals. Fiber construction is expensive, so Alphabet has found a cheaper alternative. Even though the company won’t abandon its fiber project, it could provide Internet service at a lower cost using Webpass’ wireless technology.
Source: Google Fiber Blog