back to article Google Fiber experiment ends with Choc Factory paying Louisville $3.8m to clean up its mess

Google has cut a deal with the city of Louisville, Kentucky, to settle lingering costs from its ill-fated Fiber broadband installation. The US city's Mayor Greg Fischer announced on Monday that the Chocolate Factory had agreed to pay the Louisville Metro Government $3.84m over 20 months to help cover road and other public …

  1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Scorched Earth

    It would be nice if Google could stop their "free and crappy" or "cheap and crappy" product expansion into everything. It sets expectations and then business can no longer find enough paying customers to build a quality product. Think of everything they've permanently damaged - global message boards, e-mail, news, chat, photo sharing, video sharing, and web site hosting. They're now full of spam, ads, massive down-sampling, etc.

    Louisville should have asked for more money. They need to clean up the broadband mess before consumers there have expectations that broadband doesn't work and not much money shouldn't be spent on it.

    1. ratfox Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Scorched Earth

      Think of everything they've permanently damaged - global message boards, e-mail, news, chat, photo sharing, video sharing, and web site hosting. They're now full of spam, ads, massive down-sampling, etc.

      I'm reminded of this old opinion piece of a rich guy complaining that now flights are cheap, airports are flooded with tourists wearing flip-flops. He proposes regulating airlines to force prices to go up, so that this rabble cannot afford to fly anymore.

      That said, I think you are too negative. If you want to pay for quality services, I'm quite certain you will find companies willing to take your money.

      1. ibmalone Silver badge

        Re: Scorched Earth

        The real story though is 'disruptive internet company discovers what 100 years of civil engineering could have told them', with the subtitle 'having a cool name doesn't mean it works'.

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: 'disruptive internet company'

          Disruptive Advertising company.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        "If you want to pay for quality services, I'm quite certain you will find"

        No, the issue is often they go out of business if someone is able to offer ugly stuff but so cheap many will fall into the trap just to complain when it is too late.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "If you want to pay for quality services, I'm quite certain you will find"

          I'm currently stuck in an expensive contract with BT (my wife renewed without asking me) and getting a crappy service despite paying a ridiculous amount. I have no other options to improve the service as the constant interruptions are caused by the aged infrastructure in the village, we've got fibre to the cabinet but then its old copper to the house including telephone lines from poles in the pavement. As every other broadband provider will be using the openreach service i'm pretty much screwed. The service speed has improved but I no longer have a stable connection which is beginning to affect my ability to work from home. 4g isn't an option as coverage is so poor I usually have to rely on wi-fi calling when I'm at home. There was a local wifi based offering but the speed they could deliver were pathetic and I think they have now gone bust.

      3. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Scorched Earth

        > If you want to pay for quality services, I'm quite certain you will find companies willing to take your money.

        Nope, because "cheap and shitty" almost always forces "expensive but good" out of the market.

        1. ratfox Silver badge
          Gimp

          Re: Scorched Earth

          Apple doesn't seem to have gotten the memo. And they do e-mail, chat, photo sharing, etc.

          1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Scorched Earth

            Apple doesn't seem to have gotten the memo. And they do e-mail, chat, photo sharing, etc.

            So my choices devolve to 1) cheap & crappy or 2) expensive & crappy? I jest! I have no real beef with Apple products in general even if I do feel they are a bit overpriced. Google's products, however, are full of hidden costs and are indeed crappy. I worked at an agency that adopted their office suite, opting to replace the then-used MS products. They decided to return to MS after having dealt with Google for a couple of years. Once they had a handle on what the actual costs were versus what they got from the product, they could justify ditching the cheaper (in both senses of the word) alternative.

        2. rcxb Bronze badge

          Re: Scorched Earth

          > "cheap and shitty" almost always forces "expensive but good" out of the market.

          Cheap ISPs like Windstream and Frontier are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, while expensive (but consistently fast) ISPs like Charter, Comcast, etc. earn record profits.

          What we usually end up with is acceptable (for most everyone) quality at very low prices, but it can take quite a long time to get there when there is limited competition.

        3. Tigra 07 Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Scorched Earth

          What about expensive and shitty? Apple is still in business...

      4. bpfh Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Scorched Earth

        Ah so there actually are people who can afford those Rolex watches and Cartier diamond necklaces on adverts plastered over the EasyJet waiting lounge in Charles de Gaulle!

      5. paulll Bronze badge

        Re: Scorched Earth

        "If you want to pay for quality services, I'm quite certain you will find companies willing to take your money."

        Not really if you're looking for a smartphone. They've totally destroyed that market. It's apple, or google's shite spyware.

        1. ratfox Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Scorched Earth

          Not really if you're looking for a smartphone. They've totally destroyed that market. It's apple, or google's shite spyware.

          Precisely...? Apple is the number one example of a company which does most of what Google does (phones, OS, browser, email, maps, cloud services, photos sharing, etc.) except they charge you for it and respect your privacy. To the point I'm confused you are bringing them up. It sounds like "except for the companies that do everything exactly the way I want, there are only companies that don't do what I want."

    2. Symon Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: Scorched Earth

      Yes, apart from the search engine, the Nexus & Pixel phones, the Android, the free DNS*, Chromecast, driverless cars, maps with traffic alerts, translation tools, sky mapping, streetview, terrain mapping, web browsers ... what have Google ever done for us?

      I know they've done all this to make money, but that's the way the world works. It's not all crappy. Some of it is quite good...

      *Tip for the top. Swap to 9.9.9.9 quad9.net

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: Scorched Earth

        Free email provision at least as bad/good as Hotmail or any of the others, free unlimited cloud for every school in the world (yes, you can get unlimited numbers of users on unlimited storage on all the main Google Cloud apps - docs, sheets, slides, drive, classroom, etc. - for free, just for being a school), YouTube...

        1. teknopaul Silver badge

          Re: Scorched Earth

          Gmail invented reading your private emails to work out what to advertise. Not sure that is "better" email.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: Scorched Earth

        what have Google ever done for us?

        Plundered our privacy?

        Of your list, the only things that are actually better* than the competitors are their search and mapping stuff.

        [*] not just cheaper due to the aforementioned privacy issue.

      3. teknopaul Silver badge

        Re: Scorched Earth

        Oh and you might have noticed search is very bad now they have a monolpoly. Its pure adverts and zero "organic search" results on the first page often. Gone are the dys of decent search and adverts on the side pane.

        1. bpfh Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Scorched Earth

          Ah yes, when Google was slowly burying Altavista after they were fobbed off to a marketing firm and the first 2 or 3 pages of results were paid add, and Google blogged a piece about how their sponsored ads would only ever be placed in a tinted sidebar and never ever evar be included in the list of search results in any way shape or form, ever.

          2 weeks later the tinted panel cloned itself into the search results list, adding another couple of ads to the top of the search results.

          Bloody hell has it been 16 years already?

      4. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Scorched Earth

        1) Android - a way to look at whatever you do with your life through your phone.

        2) Free DNS - did you pay for them before? - another way to map your online activities

        3) Chromecast - a way to ensure they know what you like to watch - and you can watch without.

        4) Driverless cars - not available yet. Still, designed to ensure they can drive you where they want.

        5) Maps with traffic alerts - already available before Google Maps - which tracks every step you take. StreetView - a way to know what people are interested in.

        6) Sky mapping - plenty of applications already available before (I was using one on a 286).

        7) Translation tools - already available, and another way to know what you do

        8) Web browser - the best way to track all of your online activities - and it came after Mozilla

        As you can see each and every of its products are designed to track you, slurp your life, and use those data to sell advertisement space. The world would be a better place, without.

        1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

          Re: Scorched Earth

          OpenDNS was free well before Google's dns

        2. Raphael

          Re: Scorched Earth

          "6) Sky mapping - plenty of applications already available before (I was using one on a 286)."

          Skyglobe? (I had fun playing with that)

        3. JJKing Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Scorched Earth

          Nothing new here. Microslurp did the same thing by purchasing companies and claiming the app as their own.......now move along please.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Scorched Earth

        Symon,

        Hat Tip for the in the style of 'Life of Brian' reference. :)

        See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Not_the_Messiah_(He%27s_a_Very_Naughty_Boy)

        for a very funny rendition of the sketch as a song.

        (The whole oratorio is very funny making jokes out of well known musical forms / Composers including musical theatre while following the 'Life of Brian' story)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Scorched Earth

      “Louisville should have asked for more money. They need to clean up the broadband mess before consumers there have expectations that broadband doesn't work and not much money shouldn't be spent on it.”

      Louisville likely got what it wanted - more competitive Internet access. Google came in, were struggling to deliver a FTTH solution due to existing providers restrictions (restrictions negotiated by Louisville’s local or state government) and attempted to work around it but we’re blocked by legal challenges. The incumbents then bumped up their speeds and offered more competitive pricing, killing Google’s business model in Louisville. Ref: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/google-vs-at-t-who-is-winning-the-fiber-internet-war-in-louisville/

      Paying to clean up the mess (assuming it covers the costs) and local consumers getting a better service at a lower cost is likely to be a win for Louisville.

      Yes, this ignores the relative merits of Google’s larger product range, but there’s a lot of grey involved in local cable/telco provision in the US. Google was likely the the least worst party in this case.

      I’m not trying to defend Google - just provide some insight into US cable and telecoms. It’s not comparable to UK/European markets where there’s some attempt to provide competition. And industry regulators act (eventually) rather than undermining the consumer whenever telcos/cable companies click their fingers.

  2. Lee D Silver badge

    Infrastructure is expensive and nobody wants to pay for it.

    That's why anything like installing fibre / copper / pipes / roads should be done by a nationalised entity, and the costs meted out over all customers.

    That's the reason why we still don't have Virgin fibre anywhere except where NTL went bust putting the cable in, or Virgin were paid up-front to lay fibre (e.g. brand new housing estates in technology districts).

    That's why the out-in-the-sticks people still don't have broadband at all, but I can get 300Mbps just by paying for it. That's why there's no mobile phone coverage at all in 5% of the country and it will stay that way.

    Infrastructure needs to be put in place by a central company that everyone has to use (e.g. the GPO). Then it charges everyone on a cost-only-basis to use that infrastructure. Oh, you want your special customer in London to get two-gigbits? Then you need to pay the infrastructure company to do that for you and then they have a legal obligation to also cable up some people out in sod-all-nowhere and charge you the price to do both.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Che van der Showa

        Re: The sticks

        Nah. 'Out in the sticks' = countryside.

        1. TimMaher Bronze badge
          Coat

          Re: The sticks

          Cos if you were out in the Styx you might drown.

          I’ll get in my psychopomp and punt away. It’s the one with all the souls in.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The sticks

            Hey. Come back. I've paid a penny for this trip.

    2. Shadowmanx2012
      Thumb Up

      HS2 Cancelled?

      "That's why the out-in-the-sticks people still don't have broadband at all, but I can get 300Mbps just by paying for it. That's why there's no mobile phone coverage at all in 5% of the country and it will stay that way."

      Belatedly some parts of the "establishment" are coming around to that view:

      Replace HS2 Project with fibre rollout

      AJ

    3. Vince

      Rural does not mean poor internet access

      I'm not sure your argument works.

      I've got customers "in the sticks" (really in the sticks) with FTTP connected and fine at 330 meg. My office, in a City Centre, in a very popular area has no FTTC or FTTP at all, and we're only able to get ADSL2+ unless we pay for fibre ethernet ourselves. Being "in the sticks" is not always and is increasingly thanks to the gov funding projects not a problem - it's actually reversing the issue as FTTP is more effective to deploy in those rural areas with few properties than many FTTC cabs serving 1-2 premises. It can be the case that rural is worse, but it is also the case that it can be significantly better.

      We have in most respects got a national operator - eg Openreach - but actually that's not all that helpful because as they have zero competition in many areas they are frequently lacking in service delivery and inefficiency. It's noticeable when you find there is competition that they magically do a better job...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Rural does not mean poor internet access

        “We have in most respects got a national operator - eg Openreach - but actually that's not all that helpful because as they have zero competition in many areas they are frequently lacking in service delivery and inefficiency”

        This isn’t always the telcos fault - building wayleave is not always a given. A number of property firms have their own pet comms provider and Openreach/others don’t get into the building, significantly the competition for their own (or part owned) comms provider.

        Unfortunately it is rarely something considered before signing a building lease...

      2. defiler Silver badge

        Re: Rural does not mean poor internet access

        My office, in a City Centre, in a very popular area has no FTTC or FTTP at all, and we're only able to get ADSL2+ unless we pay for fibre ethernet ourselves.

        Yep. Entirely.

        We have a customer with a few offices, both a walk away from the city-centre stations. In Edinburgh they can get ADSL2+ or Virgin Media (who seem to think that it's just fine and dandy to schedule a 6-hour maintenance window during the working day time after time after time on a "Business Broadband" contract). The exchange is upgraded to FTTC but not the cabinet and Openreach have decided to ditch the whole thing in favour of starting again with FTTP.

        In Manchester they can get ADSL2+ or dialup. And the DSL connections are crap at the best of times but shit themselves completely if there's rain. Guess how often it rains in Manchester... Again, Openreach binned an active FTTC rollout in favour of FTTP before they were hooked up.

        These are both city-centre offices. Virgin will have to do in Edinburgh for now (although they may bail on that one for a dedicated fibre link), and in Manchester they had to have Deansgate dug up to run a dedicated fibre link at significant cost. Oh, and a rat chewed through that.

        Honestly, you get a better connection at Tan Hill Inn.

    4. Flashfox

      The frustration with Google is that they start something, get people interested, then dump everything. I was looking forward to Google Fiber as they started to install this in San Diego area ... then they stopped. At least I now have 1 Gbps U/D FTTP service through at&t U-Verse

  3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    the condition of both Google's cables.

    "both Google's cables"? Sounds like they didn't actually do all that much work in building out. Or does the article mean there are two Googles?

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: the condition of both Google's cables.

      That would be "Googles'". Good god man, learn what apostrophes mean.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: the condition of both Google's cables.

        Considering the ambiguity in the sentence, I was wary of assuming the apostrophe in the quote was correctly used.

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: the condition of both Google's cables.

          Standards tend to be pretty high here, this isn't the Metro. Either way, have one of these as a token of reconciliation---->

  4. BOBSta
    Coat

    2359

    Just another 339 and a bit years to go, then, before they declare which Monday in 2359...

  5. codejunky Silver badge

    Hmm

    Sounds good. Markets working as they should do.

  6. Bruce Ordway

    Google experiment with fiber

    Now they know, fiber cannot be broken down into sugar molecules

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