Google's trick to more rapidly and cheaply deploy its super-speedy Google Fiber project has hit a wall, complicating the company's broader attempt to get its gigabit service back on track across the nation.
The internet titan had pinned its hopes on an experiment called "shallow trenching," which enabled it to deploy gigabit internet in Louisville in just five months and drastically outpace rival AT&T Fiber. But a Google Fiber spokesperson said problems with the process will force Google Fiber to cease operations in Louisville.
Google is informing customers Thursday that their service will end on April 15.
It's a massive setback for Google Fiber, which "paused" operations in October 2016 but rolled out in Louisville and San Antonio in 2017 as part of a quiet Google Fiber 2.0 comeback, using cutting-edge techniques to control costs and outflank traditional telecom companies. The service was supposed to be a speedier, less costly alternative to your standard cable or phone provider, but Google encountered the same problem as everyone else: the insane costs of laying down physical fiber lines.
In the other 10 metropolitan areas where Google Fiber is still operating -- Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Huntsville, Alabama; Kansas City, Missouri; Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; Orange County, California; Salt Lake City/Provo, Utah; and San Antonio -- it'll continue to put more fiber in the ground and sign up new customers.
A Google Fiber spokesperson also told CNET that it'll learn from the failure in Louisville and improve its deployments in other cities.