Report: Google Fiber’s Atlanta fiber plans remain uncertain

Google Fiber
Google Fiber maintains that it continues to make progress extending service to more customers.

Google Fiber’s ambitious effort to wire up consumers in metro Atlanta areas Sandy Springs and Brookhaven with its disruptive $70 a month 1 Gbps FTTH service has come to a standstill, but the company maintains it is on track with its deployment plans.

A Google Fiber spokesperson told Reporter Newspapers that the company has continued to make progress extending service to more customers across the city.

“Google Fiber is currently available in over 100 residential buildings in the metro Atlanta area and in several neighborhoods in the center of the city,” a Google Fiber spokesperson said. “We’re working hard to connect as many people as possible, and encourage people to sign up for updates on our website.”

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However, city spokespersons from Sandy Springs and Brookhaven say it is unclear when Google Fiber’s service will be available.

Sharon Kraun, Sandy Springs’ spokesperson, said that Google Fiber stopped requests for permits to install fiber huts and related network equipment.

“I’ve checked with our utilities manager and to date, Google has not provided any formal notice of delay,” Kraun said. “They halted their permits about six months ago. Restoration work continues, which ensures property where work was conducted is left in order.”

Likewise, Brookhaven city officials have not received a specific rollout timeline from Google either.

“We continue to be in contact with Google Fiber. They have communicated that they are still very much committed to the Atlanta market including Brookhaven, but we do not know exactly when service will be offered,” Burke Brennan, a Brookhaven city spokesperson.

Since Google Fiber is building what are effectively new networks from scratch, the service provider has to install brand new facilities, a process that has seen various challenges.

In Brookhaven, Google Fiber’s effort to wire up Brookhaven was held up in 2015 when the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals denied its request to build a utility hut in Parkside Park.

Brookhaven had agreed to give Google Fiber space to install two huts in public parks. The service provider already built one of these huts in Blackburn Park and the other one was supposed to be placed in Parkside Park, a narrow strip of green space running along Dresden Drive between Apple Valley Road and Parkside Drive.

However, according to the Reporter Newspapers report, the city does not own a strip of land in that particular location, meaning Google Fiber would have to place its fiber hut closer to a nearby stream and Dresden Drive. Google Fiber’s revised plans to place the hut near Dresden Drive drew complaints from residents about a 55-foot long fence that would have to be put up.

Atlanta is only one of a handful of cities where Google Fiber has delayed the rollout of its FTTH service. The service provider has seen similar delays in San Jose and other California cities. Mountain View and Palo Alto city officials said they were told that Google is still committed to their projects.

Google Fiber’s parent company Alphabet instead nixed earlier plans to extend service to eight more cities in 2016 and laid off 9% of the workforce.