Many of us have spent the last five years hoping beyond hope that Google Fiber would be deployed on our home turf. Fiber has been expanding little by little, but the costs are still astronomical. Alphabet CEO Larry Page has reportedly gotten fed up with Google Fiber burning through cash. He's demanded Fiber chief Craig Barratt cut his staff to 500 from 1,000 and reduce the cost of acquiring new customers to one-tenth of current levels.
Google was restructured into Alphabet a year ago, and that included spinning some Google divisions off into their own Alphabet companies. One of those new entities was Google Fiber, which is now known as Access internally. Being on its own has focused more attention on how much it costs to run Fiber. Google originally wanted to sign up five million subscribers in five years, but as of 2014, it only had 200,000. It costs billions to deploy the fiber lines in cities, which is why there are only seven active Fiber markets so far. Even that might have been too fast. Former Fiber employees claim that every rollout was frantic because there wasn't time to learn from the last deployment.
It has been reported that Alphabet wants to move Fiber (or Access) to wireless technology that is much cheaper and faster to deploy. This might rely upon microwave technology, which has shown promise for high-speed connections. That might help get customer acquisition cost down where Page wants, but cutting Fiber's staff could have a lasting negative impact.
- The Information