Google says it’s still working on bringing its super fast “Fiber” service to Chicago despite a report the tech giant is slashing staff.
A spokeswoman for the Mountain View, Calif.-based conglomerate says Google is “continuing to work with city leaders” to explore bringing the buzzed about service here.
“This means deploying the latest technologies in alignment with our product roadmap, while understanding local considerations, which takes time,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.
The Google spokeswoman refuted that report late last week, citing an earnings call last month in which Ruth Porat, Google’s chief financial officer, said the company still views Fiber as a “huge market opportunity.”
“We’re focused on creating abundant connectivity on networks that are always fast and always open, as we’ve talked about,” Porat said during the call July 28. “And we’re continuing to work closely with cities, given their excitement.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said late last year that “high speed broadband internet is a key ingredient for job growth today and part of the foundation for an even stronger economy tomorrow.”
A city spokeswoman said there was no update Friday on Google’s negotiations with the city.
Fiber is a network of underground fiber-optic cables that are faster than traditional copper ones, touting “TV like no other” and “super fast” internet that Google says allow users to download a movie in less than two minutes.
Google first launched the service for $70 a month in 2010 in Kansas City, and has since expanded it to six other cities. Google announced late last year that it was “exploring” the possibility of bringing the service to Chicago.
But installation is cumbersome, and requires a long list of city concessions like allowing Google to plant its underground cables and deciding where to place its “huts,” or distribution centers linking the network to customers’ homes. Such work could require Google to purchase properties throughout Chicago.
“We want to make sure we’re executing against a very large and attractive market in the most effective and efficient manner,” she said.
Fiber’s high-speed Internet and television bundle costs $130 per month, but Google has been credited so far for bringing down Internet and TV costs in the markets where Fiber exists.
Still, the service has been criticized for not being affordable enough for the low-income neighborhoods that are most often deprived of internet access.
And Google Fiber hiccuped during last year’s World Series in Kansas City.
The Google spokeswoman said a timeline for Fiber’s possible entry into Chicago has yet to be determined.