Google yanks workers from ISP outfit, it's THE FIBER COUNTDOWN

Will things ever be the same again?

By Shaun Nichols in San Francisco

Posted in Networks, 16th February 2017 20:58 GMT

Google is once again pulling resources out of its Fiber network venture – this time it's employees.

The Mountain View advertising broker told us it is indeed moving a number of employees from Access, the branch of parent company Alphabet that handles Fiber. The workers are not being laid off, but rather are going to take jobs at other parts of the sprawling organization, we're told.

Overseeing the slimmed-down Access and Fiber will be telco industry veteran Greg McCray, who takes over the CEO role that has sat vacant since last October when Craig Barrett stepped down from the job.

"Google Fiber has been instrumental making the web faster and better for everyone — something I’ve been passionate about my entire career," McCray said. "I’m thrilled to lead Access as we continue in our mission to connect more people to abundant access, on networks that are always fast and always open."

The Chocolate Factory insists this reassignment of staff not a sign it is further pulling back on its ISP ambitions. At one point, Google wanted to build a brand new fiber service in the US. Now it's looking at cheaper and less ambitious ways of piping connectivity to them. For example, Google just gobbled up Webpass, which sets up building-to-building microwave networks to provide broadband. This avoids having to dig up streets, run cables everywhere, and so on.

In other words, it's totally not giving up. It's just frozen its fiber expansion plans, moved staff, and now mulling providing wireless broadband. Who would have thought that building and maintaining underground fiber networks in America would be difficult and expensive?

"Google Fiber remains committed to our customers and cities. We want to bring Google Fiber to customers faster, so we’re focused on making deployment more efficient and less intrusive," a Google spokesperson told El Reg. "We’re thrilled that Greg has agreed to join as CEO, to drive this innovation and to grow the business."

In the meantime, US telcos will no doubt once again claim the move as a win for the established broadband players who have long seen Google as a nuisance to their own fiber networks and a potential threat to healthy profit margins in many major cities. ®

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