February 15, 2017
On Monday, this blog discussed the many ways that taxpayers have subsidized Google Fiber. Today, there is growing evidence that the company continues to struggle in the cities where it has promised affordable gigabit Internet
service for all.
Kendric Ward from Watchdog.Org reported yesterday that Google Fiber’s construction subcontractors are responsible for nearly $250,000 “in damages and wasted water” due to broken water and sewer lines. According to Ward, “San Antonio Water System records show that Google contractors broke 44 lines between January and November 2016 – almost one per week.”
The company has not yet reimbursed the city for the damages and the city is struggling to keep residents happy and with water. San Antonio Water System spokeswoman Anne Hayden told Watchdog, “[W]e are working hard to ensure that our customers stay in service and collect for damages to SAWS lines caused by contractors.”
Officials in San Antonio halted Google Fiber construction earlier this year due to concerns expressed by residents about where the company is digging and putting its equipment. According to KSTX in San Antonio, “[T]here’s still no word on how the tech giant will address city and community concerns over the placement of their huts that house the fiber interface equipment.”
Meanwhile last Friday, the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky. said the city is “still waiting for Google Fiber.”
Google Fiber promised to bring gigabit service to Louisville last year, but now it sounds like the company seems less committal. A Google Fiber spokesperson told the Courier-Journal, “We are excited to bring Google Fiber to Louisville and are still figuring out the path … We’ll make a full announcement with the city at the right time.” City officials and Google Fiber itself insist they continue to work together, but it’s clear that no one is willing to indicate when that “right time” might be.
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