Google Fiber started its first expansion in 2015

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Google Fiber has woken up from its slumber, and that could be good news for all of us. The Alphabet subsidiary has barely expanded its ultra-fast gigabit Internet service since it was spun off from Google in 2015, but CEO Dinny Jain said the company is now focused on “building more momentum” with expansion into five different states.

Unlike high-speed Internet from companies like Comcast, Google Fiber relies on delivering new lines to homes. It’s an expensive process that requires working with public utilities and local governments, but Google Fiber has refined its process over the past few years, identifying which strategies work and which don’t. For example, it will not tape the cable to the sidewalk to save time.

In the past year, Google Fiber has built more than the previous few years combined, and now it’s ready to expand. The service will go live in multiple cities in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nebraska and Nevada over the next few years. This includes some previously announced but delayed expansions to Colorado Springs, Colorado and Mesa, Arizona. The company has identified these areas as underserved by high-speed internet

Jain has kept a low profile since taking over Google Fiber in 2018, but there hasn’t been much to talk about. After years of losing money on fiber rollouts, parent company Alphabet seems to want Fiber to stand on its own. In fact, Jain admitted in an interview with Reuters that fiber cannot survive on the merits of “a rich parent’s wallet”.

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Even if you’re not in one of the new Google Fiber markets, and most aren’t, there may still be benefits. When fiber was introduced in 2010, gigabit service was almost unheard of in the US. It was a bold move to begin competing with established ISPs, and analysts speculated that Google’s big talk encouraged some of these players to step up their game. Jain, who was formerly an executive at Time Warner Cable confirmed. “We were very paranoid,” he says.

Google Fiber was never going to be the solution to the crappy ISPs we hoped it would be back in 2010 — the time to solve that problem with fiber is probably past. With the expansion of 5G technology, it is possible to provide gigabit speeds to a community without having to lay new fiber optic cables. Wireless service reliability is still hit and miss, but it’s improved in leaps and bounds since Google returned to deploying Fiber. Wireless service is also part of the plan under Fiber’s Webpass brand. This is a secondary priority now, but may become more important in the coming years.

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