Google Fiber project halted in San Jose

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A much ballyhooed project to bring super high-speed internet to San Jose has been put on hold. (KGO-TV)

A much ballyhooed project to bring super high-speed internet to San Jose has been put on hold. Google Fiber was heralded as a technology breakthrough.

Every step technology takes forward has a life cycle, and it appears Google Fiber was a great idea when first launched five years ago. But it may be too expensive and not in step with how we connect to the Internet Wednesday.

Five years ago, Google's vision to wire up selected cities with fiber optic for fast internet was a bold move.

San Jose was the biggest of five South Bay cities on the list to get it and construction was to start this summer. Then Google pulled the plug.

"I think they are still interested in providing that service in the future. What we don't know is what it will look like and when it will happen. They say that they're exploring new technology," said San Jose communications director David Vossbrink.

Every detail had been worked out to install fiber optic along all 2,400 miles of streets in San Jose, sixty percent underground and 40 percent overhead on city-owned utility poles. Google's cost was expected to exceed $1 billion just in San Jose.

But something changed. People are no longer are tethered by cables. Instead they connect on wireless networks at high speed.

"Cable companies have done a much better job, the wireless networks are getting better. The bottom line is the consumers want to have access to their content their way, any time they want it and fiber is not necessarily the only way as it was five to 10 years ago," said Tim Bajarin, creative strategies analyst

Google is hitting the pause button while it studies lower cost alternatives.

And San Jose will be considering options if other companies want to step in. One goal is to provide under-served communities with high-speed Internet.

"How can we as a city encourage providers, whether it's AT&T or Comcast or Google or others, to make those investments, to provide service to our entire community and especially to those parts of our community that does not have the full access that we think everybody should have," Vossbrink said.
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