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Google Fiber expands for first time in five years, and is coming to five new states

Google Fiber is ready to start building again.
liam-tung
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer on
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By Casezy idea -- Shutterstock

The Google Fiber broadband service is one again expanding, announcing plans to bring the service to five states - Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Idaho - over the next several years.  

It's the first major expansion of Google Fiber since halting the network's rollout in nine cities in October 2016.

The expansion to the five new cities over the next few years is pending city approvals.  

"These states will be the main focus for our growth for the next several years, along with continued expansion in our current metro areas," said Dinni Jain, CEO of Google Fiber, in a blogpost

Google Fiber recently announced plans to expand its gigabit fiber service to Mesa, Arizona and Colorado Springs, Colorado. Mesa approved Google Fiber's application in July, making it the first city in Arizona to get the service. 

Jain, a former COO of Time Warner Cable who was appointed CEO of Google Fiber in 2018, says Google Fiber has been busy "behind the scenes" in recent years refining service delivery and products. 

Jain told Reuters Google Fiber was now ready to "add a little bit more build velocity" with the expansion set to bring the service to 22 metro areas, up from 17 today. 

Google launched Google Fiber in 2012 with plans to shake up the US broadband market and challenge incumbents like Comcast and AT&T. Google Fiber forced incumbents to match its prices in some areas.

But as news of Google Fiber layoffs circulated in August 2016, AT&T  mocked Google Fiber for underestimating the complexity and cost of building a fiber network. At that stage, Google was looking to accelerate coverage and earlier that year had acquired wireless broadband provider Webpass to deliver internet to apartment block buildings.

Jain told Reuters Google Fiber today is signaling that it is not planning to cover the whole of the US. 

"There was an impression 10 years ago that Google Fiber was trying to build the entire country. What we are gesturing here is, 'No, we are not trying to build the entire country'," he said.  

Google Fiber became part of Alphabet's Other Bets group in 2015 to offer investors more transparency about the costs of loss-making projects like X, which oversaw Project Loon and Google's autonomous vehicles, now called Waymo. 

Jain said the group had to move from a "spirit and culture of tremendous innovation to one of operational excellence" and could not rely on "a rich parent's wallet."

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