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Technology & Entrepreneurship

Google Fiber Says Goodbye In Kentucky, But Soldiers On In San Antonio

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Google

Google Fiber is closing its Louisville, Kentucky network after 18 months of offering its high-speed internet service. The company says it won’t impact other cities like San Antonio.

Google Fiber rolled out its Louisville network in record time in part because it used a process called “micro-trenching” to speed up fiber cable deployment. But the process, which includes shallow trenches cut into asphalt and then covered with a sealant, left some Louisville cables exposed — according to reports— and was disruptive to residents. 

It will turn off the service in April.

Google Fiber micro-trenched 600 miles of fiber in San Antonio neighborhoods. City staff say the majority is on the far Northwest and Northeast sides, including the pilot area in the Westover Hills neighborhood.

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Credit City of San Antonio
Slide from a city November 2016 City presentation

In San Antonio, the approach was billed as a way to prevent the costly traditional trenching method that spurrred complaints from many homeowners that it affected buried infrastructure, such as water pipes.

The company said it learned from its challenges and refined its micro-trenching program to go deeper and their Louisville closure will not impact other fiber cities.

According to the company, its Louisville microtrenching was as shallow as two inches. City staff said San Antonio’s trenching depth was 6-8 inches, and that while they received some complaints early on, they have tapered off.

Work continues on San Antonio's network and Google Fiber anticipates offering more residents the service this year.

Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org or on Twitter @paulflahive.