Innovation

The rise and fall and rise again of Google Fiber: A timeline

Google's gigabit internet service has clearly spurred competition for faster speeds and lower prices in the US, but it has walked an uneven path to success.

While Google Fiber just had its a comeback year—powered by shallow-trenching—the high-speed internet provider has discovered what a difficult game the telecom market can be. The service launched to great fanfare earlier this decade, but it scaled back its expansion plans in 2016, and has been working hard to regain momentum ever since.

Here is a full timeline of Google Fiber's growth, beginning with city applications to become the first Fiber city in March 2010 to officially launching in San Antonio, TX in November 2017.

SEE: Google Fiber 2.0 targets the city where it will stage its comeback, as AT&T Fiber prepares to go nuclear (TechRepublic)

2010:

Mar. 26, 2010: More than 1,100 cities apply to be the first Fiber City (Topeka, KS even renamed itself "Google" for a day in a publicity stunt to win the bid).

2011:

Mar. 30, 2011: Google Fiber announces it has selected Kansas City, KS as first city to receive the service

May 17, 2011: Fiber moves across the Kansas-Missouri border to announce that it will also launch in Kansas City, MO.

May 19, 2011: The Kansas City Council waives the permit fees associated with Google Fiber.

July 25, 2011: Google engineers began surveying streets in Kansas City, KS.

2012:

Feb. 6, 2012: Google Fiber announces they're officially laying fiber in Kansas City, in both Kansas and Missouri.

Nov. 13, 2012: Installation begins in Kansas City, KS.

2013:

Mar. 20, 2013: Fiber begins expanding to new neighborhoods in Kansas, first to Olathe, KS.

April 9, 2013: Google announces the second fiber city will be Austin, TX.

April 19, 2013: Reports circulate that Google is going to purchase Provo, UT's existing $39 million fiber network for $1.

July 22, 2013: The city of Provo, UT announces they've closed a deal with Google Fiber to bring gigabit internet to the city.

Aug. 16, 2013: Google Fiber executives say they're ready to begin installing in Provo, UT.

Nov. 13, 2013: Installations in Provo, UT begin.

SEE: Digital Transformation: A CXO's Guide (a ZDNet and TechRepublic special report)

2014:

Feb. 19, 2014: Google Fiber announces nine metro areas as potential cities. Three years later, Portland, OR, San Jose, CA, and Phoenix, AZ are still listed as potential cities.

Sept. 17, 2014: Dennis Kish is named Fiber's new vice president, replacing Milo Medin.

Oct. 4, 2014: Google Fiber says they're delayed in Kansas City, after saying it would have all of the city and some suburbs wired by the end of 2014.

Nov. 11, 2014: Google Fiber rolls out an internet option for SMBs in Kansas City. The connection reportedly cost $100 per month.

Dec. 1, 2014: Austinites can begin to sign up for Google Fiber in Texas.

Dec. 4, 2014: The Austin American-Statesman reports "robust" sign-ups in Austin, TX, with 30 neighborhoods hitting the threshold to get service.

SEE: Google's Fiber lottery: Predicting who's next and how Google picks winners (TechRepublic) | Why Google Fiber missed the mark with free internet (TechRepublic)

2015:

Jan. 16, 2015: Fiber is live in Austin, TX.

Jan. 27, 2015: Google Fiber announces it is heading to Charlotte, NC, Atlanta, GA, Nashville, TN, and Raleigh-Durham, NC.

March 24, 2015: Another new city, Salt Lake City, UT, becomes an upcoming Fiber city.

Aug. 5, 2015: San Antonio, TX is announced as the next upcoming Fiber city.

Sept. 10, 2015: Google Fiber announces that it is exploring Louisville as a potential fiber city. Irvine and San Diego, CA were also named potential cities.

Oct. 28, 2015: Three more cities—Oklahoma City, OK, Jacksonville and Tampa, FL—are added to the potential city list.

Dec. 8, 2015: Chicago and Los Angeles are added to the potential city list.

SEE: Google Fiber is forcing its rivals into offering cheaper, faster service (ZDNet)

2016:

Feb. 11, 2016: Louisville citizens overwhelm a Metro Council meeting in support of the One Touch Make Ready ordinance that will pave the way for Google Fiber. The One Touch Make Ready ordinance passed, allowing Google Fiber to use existing poles from Time Warner (the incumbent ISP) and AT&T to bring fiber to Louisville.

Feb. 22, 2016: Huntsville, AL Mayor Tommy Battle announces Fiber is coming to the city.

Feb. 25, 2016: Google Fiber announces plans to use old fiber to bring high-speed internet to San Francisco, CA. Today, the city has Webpass instead of Fiber.

Feb. 25, 2016: AT&T sues the Louisville Metro Council over the ordinance passed on Feb. 11, saying the city had no jurisdiction to regulate telephone poles.

Feb. 26, 2016: Google Fiber says it is "disappointed" upon hearing that AT&T is suing the Louisville Metro Government over the One Touch Make Ready ordinance.

SEE: Podcast: Google and AT&T: Fighting fiber with fiber (TechRepublic)

April 11, 2016: Google Fiber axes a free Fiber option in Kansas City, MO. Some residents were able to get free internet as long as installation was paid for.

April 14, 2016: The San Antonio Express-News reports that Google Fiber construction is ramping up in the Texas city, but didn't say when sign-ups would begin.

April 27, 2016: Google Fiber launches in Nashville, TN.

June 10, 2016: Louisville Metro Council grants Google Fiber public right-of-way access to install fiber.

June 14, 2016: Dallas, TX is announced as a potential city.

July 12, 2016: Google Fiber launches in Charlotte, NC.

Aug. 2, 2016: Select Irvine, CA companies get Google Fiber.

Aug. 9, 2016: Single-family homes in metro Atlanta get Google Fiber. Apartments and condos had been slowly gaining access over the summer, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Aug. 11, 2016: Google files with the US Federal Communications Commission to begin testing wireless broadband internet in 24 cities.

Aug. 26, 2016: Reports surface that Google Fiber will cut its staff in half after rumors of internal disappointment in the company's progress, ZDNet reported.

Sept. 13, 2016: Google Fiber begins expanding into The Triangle in North Carolina, starting in Morrisville.

Oct. 3, 2016: Google Fiber announces it has acquired wireless broadband provider Webpass, adding five metro areas to the map: San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago, Miami, and Boston.

Oct. 5, 2016: Charter Communications, the parent company of incumbent ISP Time Warner, joins AT&T in suing Louisville over its One Touch Make Ready ordinance.

Oct. 11, 2016: Google Fiber files motion to submit an amicus curiae in the AT&T lawsuit in Louisville. The motion would allow them to present their opinion on the ordinance that sparked the lawsuit.

Oct. 25, 2016: Google Fiber pauses operations in most potential cities as the CEO, Craig Barratt, steps down. The company said it would continue providing internet in existing fiber cities.

SEE: Google Fiber pivots: What it means for the future of gigabit internet (TechRepublic) | Why Google Fiber failed: 5 reasons (TechRepublic)

2017:

Jan. 12, 2017: San Antonio, TX officials say Fiber construction in the city has been halted. Many residents complained about the construction of a Fiber Hut in a city park.

February 2017: Google Fiber quietly moves Louisville from the potential to upcoming cities list, joining Huntsville, AL and San Antonio, TX. TechRepublic first reports that Louisville will be the city where Google Fiber launches its next-generation infrastructure.

February 2017: Multiple reports of Google Fiber and AT&T work causing problems in Charlotte, NC surface, prompting the Charlotte Observer to publish a story about what residents should do if they're faced with damage.

Feb. 1, 2017: Google begins sign-ups for Webpass in six metro areas after buying it in June 2016, showing the fiber initiative isn't dead while providing apartments and condos in Chicago, Boston, Miami, San Diego, San Francisco, and Oakland with fiber internet.

Feb. 1, 2017: Google Fiber launches in Raleigh, NC, growing its preexisting market in The Triangle.

Feb. 22, 2017: Webpass launches in Denver, CO.

April 26, 2017: Google Fiber officially announces that it's bringing its gigabit internet service to Louisville.

SEE: Think Google Fiber's fast? Nokia to show off tech that's 1,000 times faster (ZDNet)

May 23, 2017: Google Fiber launches in Huntsville, AL.

June 6, 2017: Seattle, WA is announced as the next Webpass city.

Aug. 16, 2017: A U.S. District Court judge dismisses AT&T's case against the Louisville Metro Government over the city's One Touch Make Ready ordinance.

Aug. 22, 2017: As Google Fiber construction in San Antonio, TX remains quiet, AT&T ramps up its fiber efforts in the city, expanding its fiber network by more than 30,000 locations.

October 2017: Google Fiber announces it wouldn't launch Fiber TV in Louisville or San Antonio.

Oct. 18, 2017: Google Fiber connects its first customer in Louisville, and starts taking signups from the public.

SEE: Photos: How Google Fiber is using 'shallow trenching' to outbuild its gigabit rivals (TechRepublic)

Oct. 20, 2017: TechRepublic profiles shallow trenching, the new method Google Fiber is using to bring Fiber to cities much faster than AT&T and other rivals.

Oct. 25, 2017: After launching in April 2016, Google Fiber expands its reach in Nashville, TN, including eight new neighborhoods. Both Comcast and AT&T also expanded their reach in the Music City after Google Fiber's initial announcement to enter the market, according to the Nashville Business Journal.

Oct. 31, 2017: AT&T announces it will not appeal the dismissal of its lawsuit against the Louisville Metro Government over the city's One Touch Make Ready ordinance.

Nov. 7, 2017: TechRepublic reports Fiber was near launching in San Antonio after public works permits showed construction was ongoing in the Alamo City.

Nov. 14, 2017: Google Fiber begins taking signups in San Antonio, and announces its arrival on Twitter.

Also see

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Image: Jason Hiner/TechRepublic

About Olivia Krauth

Olivia Krauth is a Multiplatform Reporter at TechRepublic.

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