Google Fiber is expanding in five new states
Google plans to launch its fiber services in five new states over the next three to five years.
Google Fiber, the Alphabet division focused on offering high-speed internet access in the US, has ambitious plans to expand its fiber services over the next three to five years, the company announced in a blog post. It wants to launch fiber services in five new states, including previously announced plans to enter Arizona and Colorado, as well as Nebraska, Nevada and Idaho. In all, Reuters reports that Google Fiber expects to expand to 22 metropolitan areas, up from 17 today.
It's a significant change from 2016, when the company reportedly laid off 9 per cent of its workforce and halted plans to launch services in more than a half-dozen cities. In the years that followed, reports surfaced that the company was cancelling hundreds of installations in existing metropolitan areas like Kansas City, and abandoning Louisville, Kentucky, altogether after an ill-fated experiment with laying fiber cabling in very shallow trenches.
It looks like the company is poised to grow, with CEO Dinni Jain telling Reuters the team is ready to "add a little more build speed." Its launch in West Des Moines, Iowa, in March was its first new state in five years, and the following month it said it would expand to Des Moines. In addition, Reuters notes that Google Fiber built more in 2021 than in "previous years combined."
Despite his hopes of regaining momentum, Jain says Google Fiber's ambitions are modest. "There was the impression 10 years ago that Google Fiber was trying to build the whole country," he told Reuters. "What we're gesturing here is, 'No, we're not trying to build the whole country." In addition to expanding into new states, Jain's blog post says the expansion will continue in existing metropolitan areas.
Google Fiber dates back to 2010 and was initially launched to help drive the adoption of faster internet speeds at lower cost, partly by offering it outright and pushing established US providers to compete. As a former Time Warner executive, Jain says he felt pressure from Google directly. "We were so paranoid," he tells Reuters.
The news of Google Fiber's expansion plans comes at a time of belt-tightening at Google and across the tech industry. Last month, the company announced a two-week hiring freeze as it reviews its staffing needs, making it the latest tech giant to take stock amid a worsening economic climate. Alphabet has also been willing to shut down experimental projects recently. It shut down its Loon balloon internet service last year and closed its power kite division in 2020.