Google is retreating from an ambitious program to extend its Gigabit fiber service to new neighborhoods.
The company reportedly is laying off around 9% of workers in the division, and says it will pause work in markets where it held "exploratory discussions." Craig Barratt, who had served as CEO of the unit, is stepping down.
"We’re ever grateful to these cities for their ongoing partnership and patience, and we’re confident we’ll have an opportunity to resume our partnership discussions once we’ve advanced our technologies and solutions," Barratt said in a blog post.
He added that the company will remain in areas where it's already launched or has started construction.
It's not yet clear whether Google will ever think it's feasible to resume its Fiber project. That's unfortunate, because Fiber brought much needed broadband competition to neighborhoods where it rolled out. Google Fiber not only appeared to spur other broadband providers to roll out Gigabit service, but it also resulted in lower prices, according to DSLReports.
News of Google's move comes nearly two months after reports emerged about planned cutbacks at Google Fiber. Those reports spurred an AT&T executive to pen a blog post gloating over the situation.
"Building reliable, ubiquitous high-speed broadband connectivity is tough," AT&T’s vice president Joan Marsh wrote at the time. "Welcome to the broadband network business, Google Fiber. We’ll be watching your next move from our rear view mirror. Oh, and pardon our dust."
Marsh didn't add that AT&T has done its best to thwart Google's entry into some new markets, like Louisville, Kentucky and Nashville, Tennessee. Lawmakers in those cities passed measures aimed at making it easier for Google Fiber to create networks. AT&T promptly sued to block those laws.