July 6, 2017
More bad news this week about Google Fiber. In a nearly 2,000-word investigative piece, the Charlotte, N.C. news website Creative Loafing Charlotte says the company’s network in the city hasn’t generated much interest and is behind schedule. And while the company has worked with nonprofits to address the city’s digital divide, officials allegedly spend lavishly on parties and don’t treat their contractors well.
Google Fiber announced its plans to offer Internet service in Charlotte in January 2015. It launched its program in July 2016. Since then, the company has offered “an ever-increasing timeline regarding its rollout,” Creative Loafing reporter Ryan Pitkin explains. A company spokesperson insisted, “Google Fiber is here to stay in Charlotte. We’ll continue to serve our customers with the same great service they’ve come to expect from us.” (Google Fiber still is not listed on Broadband Now as one of Charlotte’s providers.)
Reporter Pitkin says the company also is guilty of generating “hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage during construction.” (Residents of Austin, Texas also frequently complained of the damage done by Google Fiber contractors to their property.)
A former temporary vendor contractor (TVC) explained that Google Fiber ended her contract after she revealed “gross overspending, mistreatment of fellow TVCs and other harassment by Google employees.” In one incident, a Google Fiber employee allegedly “chased” a temporary contractor around the company’s office space in Charlotte. When asked by Creative Loafing for comment, a spokesperson from the company did not address the allegations.
All TVCs were fired from Google Fiber in March 2017, “the day after a staff party at high-rise apartment building The Vue.” The contractor said spending lavishly on parties is not uncommon at Google Fiber. The contractor told Creative Loafing that “she saw fulltime employees, many of whom had never held another job outside of Google, spend recklessly on company parties, one time spending $10,000 on a community pool party in Highland Creek that could have been thrown for a fraction of that.”
The contractor also said that it seems like many city residents weren’t interested in Google Fiber service. She explained, “There just wasn’t a ton to do. I think they really overestimated people signing up for it …” The contractor predicted, “They’re going to end up selling.”
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