After shutting down its much-ballyhooed fiber service yesterday in Louisville, Kentucky, Google Fiber has agreed to pay $3.84 million to make amends.
In a rare public admission of failure, Google Fiber announced in February that it was closing up shop on its fiber-based network in Louisville on April 15. Google Fiber used a new shallow trenching technology to lay its fiber in Louisville, and while that shallow trenching led to Google turning on the service in a record time frame, it also created issues, such as exposed fiber cables.
In order to tidy up its efforts, Google Fiber will pay $3.84 million to Louisville Metro Government (LMG) to fix the roads and other public rights of way that were impacted by its service. Under the terms of Google Fiber's franchise agreement and local regulations, Google Fiber will pay out the $3.84 million over 20 months to cover the costs for a range of cleanup duties including:
• Removing fiber cables and sealant from roads,
• Milling and paving activities where needed, and
• Removal of aboveground infrastructure.
In an effort to further make good, Google Fiber is also making a $150,000 cash donation to the Community Foundation of Louisville’s Digital Inclusion Fund to support LMG’s digital inclusion efforts, which include refurbishing used computers for low-income individuals and the enrollment of public housing residents in low-cost internet access via other companies that provide services in Louisville. Google Fiber is also handing over 275 refurbished computers to the Louisville Metro Housing Authority.
In 2010, Google shook up the telecommunications industry when it first announced its plan to deploy a fiber-to-the-home internet service with speeds of up to a gigabit per second, which was 100 times faster than the average speeds of that era. While Google Fiber may not be in Louisville any more, the company raised the bar for internet access in the area, according to an LMG official.
“It’s clear that Google Fiber’s presence in Louisville led other providers to step up and increase investment in Louisville, and that was good news for consumers everywhere," said Grace Simrall, LMG’s chief of civic innovation and technology, in a statement. "Moreover, we appreciate Google Fiber’s donation to our digital inclusion work, because improving equity in access to technology and digital skills is essential for Louisville’s economy today and tomorrow.”