Skip to main content

Big budget cuts ordered for Google Fiber, likely putting the brakes on rollout

google fiber louisville hybrid launch googlefiber 01
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Google’s ambitious fiber broadband plans have cost the company quite a bit of money, and were said to be worth the cost as recently as this year. Reality might be a different story altogether, as it now appears Google Fiber is the target of some substantial budget cuts.

A report in The Information claims Alphabet chiefs Larry Page and Sergey Brin have ordered huge cuts to the operating expenses of Fiber. Half of Google Fiber’s 1,000 employees stand to lose their jobs, and it might mean the postponement and possible cancellation of any future projects until questions on how to complete the rollout in a cost-effective manner are answered. Alphabet is Google’s parent company.

The problem lies in the sheer cost of building out these fiber-optic networks. An earlier story by Recode suggested that the rollout in Kansas City — the first city to be wired by Google five years ago — cost Alphabet some $1 billion to complete, and future rollouts will likely cost far more.

As a result of the substantial cost, Fiber has the daunting task of trying to attract enough customers to offset those expenses. Google execs in 2011 — in the days before the Kansas City network was switched on — bragged about customer numbers of five million within a few years in networks coast to coast, but actual results have been nowhere close to that.

Fiber is now in seven markets — Salt Lake City being the most recent — with five other installations expected to go online in the coming months. However, sources tell The Information that actual subscriber numbers are nowhere near the company’s original projections.

A Wall Street Journal story earlier this month also suggests that Google isn’t sure its current strategy of fiber-to-the-home is the right one, and may use wireless technologies instead to accelerate its rollout. Using wireless would cost Alphabet a fifth of what it costs for a fiber rollout, although Page apparently wants it to cost half that.

The result of Fiber’s apparent struggles seem to also be causing some disagreement among Alphabet’s top brass. While Page seems to be serious on getting costs under control, Google and Alphabet Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat has apparently stepped in to argue that the costs are justified, The Information reports.

Confusion over what the future of Fiber might be could also be why its CEO Craig Barratt apparently considered leaving the company earlier in the year, and might further imperil future rollouts amid leadership questions if Barratt would end up leaving the company..

Representatives for Fiber have declined to report on the rumors.

Editors' Recommendations

Ed Oswald
For fifteen years, Ed has written about the latest and greatest in gadgets and technology trends. At Digital Trends, he's…
77 best Amazon Cyber Monday deals on laptops, TVs, and more
Digital Trends Best Black Friday Amazon Deals

You can make a strong case that Amazon won Black Friday. Now that we've moved on to Cyber Monday, Amazon is still looking strong. We've collected the best Cyber Monday deals on a wide variety of products. If you're interested in grabbing some new tech today, like an OLED TV, some smart home devices, or just a new coffee maker, check out the awesome deals below.

Best Amazon Cyber Monday TV deals

Read more
Samsung Cyber Monday deals: TVs, tablets, smartphones, and more
Stack of Samsung Galaxy S22 phones.

Samsung is behind a lot of different electronic devices in the market, like TVs, monitors, smartphones, tablets, and refrigerators. It's among the most trusted names in the consumer electronics industry, with offerings that range from budget to premium, and you can secure discounts across the board through the Cyber Monday deals that have launched. You're going to have to act quickly though, because there's always high demand for Samsung Cyber Monday deals. We've gathered some of our favorite bargains below to help you decide fast, but it's also worth checking Samsung has on sale by clicking on the button below.

Samsung TV Cyber Monday deals

Read more
Best iPad Cyber Monday deals: iPad Mini, iPad Air, iPad Pro, and more
Digital Trends Best Cyber Monday iPad Deals

You should take advantage of Cyber Monday to buy expensive tech like iPads. Nearly every model of the tablet has had their price slashed in Cyber Monday deals, from the Mini to the Pro. So that you wouldn't be overwhelmed by all of the offers, we've selected our favorite iPad Cyber Monday deals from the different retailers and rounded them up here. If you see a great price on an iPad that you've been eyeing, you should grab the offer as soon as possible as it may be gone the next minute.
Best 10.2-inch iPad Cyber Monday deals

The 10.2-inch Apple iPad, which includes the seventh to the ninth generations of the entry-level Apple iPad, remains one of the cheapest ways to jump into the iPad experience. They're not the latest models available, but they're still very capable devices because they can be upgraded to iPadOS 17, which is the newest version of Apple's operating system for tablets. If you want to get a 10.2-inch iPad for an even more affordable price, you may want to consider a refurbished one, especially since it would come with a return guarantee if it stops working properly.

Read more