Google Fiber Pulls Out of Louisville

Jon Porter at The Verge reported:

Google has agreed to pay the Louisville Metro Government $3.84 million over the next 20 months to repair the damage caused to the city by its ill-fated Google Fiber service. The money will be used by local authorities to remove the company’s infrastructure from the city’s roads and to repave areas where needed after the service ceased operation yesterday.

The company’s problems in Louisville stem from its decision to lay its cabling just inches beneath the road’s surface, in part because incumbents like AT&T attempted to block Google from sharing its utility poles.

Three years ago, I would’ve signed up for Google Fiber a heartbeat - should it have ever come to my tiny suburban town. Gigabit internet and cable television at a fraction of Comcast’s or Verizon’s costs? It’s not even a question. But today, I’d probably take a hard pass. For one, I no longer even want cable TV. I access my entertainment just fine via subscriptions for each particular platform of my choosing - at no more than $15 per month per subscription. That model is much more consumer-friendly than any horrifically-bundled, commercial-plagued, non-bingeable, cable TV service.

As for Google Fiber’s gigabit internet service, I suppose I have Google to thank for Verizon’s offering of the same gigabit internet for roughly the same price, and without a $1 billion investment into tearing-up my towns infrastructure.

Any decrease in competition is a loss for the consumer and it’s a shame that Google decided to pull out of Louisville’s market. While I may never sign up for Google Fiber if given the chance, I certainly hope that they continue to expand their program further throughout the U.S., and in turn make Internet access cheaper and competitive for all consumers.

Follow Doug Davis on Twitter @thedougdavis and get blog updates @autonomous_blog.