Louisville, Google Fiber reach restoration of infrastructure agreement

Google to pay nearly $4M to fix damaged infrastructure in Louisville due to failed Google Fiber

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Google Fiber will pay $3.84 million to Louisville Metro Government to restore roads and other public rights-of-way affected by its departure from Louisville.

Citing technical challenges, Google Fiber announced its exit from Louisville in February.

To install its infrastructure around the city, Google used a method called shallow trenching. Wires were buried only a few inches below the ground and now exposed wires must be removed and roads repaved.

The agreement addresses network installations in Portland, Newburg and the Highlands, where Google Fiber offered services. Where necessary, construction will begin as part of the Public Works paving season currently underway.

“Even if it took a long time to get installed, it would have been OK, but it is better to do it the correct way,” Joshua White, a Highlands Douglass resident, said. “What they did was haphazard, and it obviously didn’t work OK.”

White said since the planning began in 2015, he and his neighbors had concerns with cables buried just a few inches below the ground.

White was initially excited to be able to effectively work from home with ultra-high-speed internet. When Google Fiber called it quits in Louisville that was the first let down, seeing loose sealant and exposed wires was the second.

“For people like me, this was a disappointment because they gave up on us,” White said. “This is something that was important. The importance didn’t change just because they ran an experiment that was a failure.”

Google’s payment of nearly $4 million will cover the removal of cables, any above-ground infrastructure and road re-pavement.

In a statement from Google Fiber, General Manager Mark Strama said, “This plan provides for the long-term protection of the city’s infrastructure.”

The payments will be made over 20 months.

White says time will tell if it's enough.

“This is going to be a black mark on Google as they go forward for a long time,” White said.

Google Fiber is also making a $150,000 cash donation to the Community Foundation of Louisville’s Digital Inclusion Fund to support Louisville Metro Government’s digital inclusion efforts, which include refurbishing used computers for low-income individuals and the enrollment of public housing residents in low-cost internet access through other companies providing service in Louisville. The company also plans to make a donation of 275 refurbished computers to the Louisville Metro Housing Authority.

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