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Google Fiber Still Exploring Louisville Expansion, Company Says

Google_Fiber_store,_Austin
John Cummings/Creative Commons
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Google Fiber is not looking to pull the plug on a potential expansion of its sought-after fiber internet service to Louisville, according to a company official.

The company's chief executive officer resigned Tuesday and announced a plan to pause Google Fiber expansion projects in some cities. But Louisville officials and a Google Fiber spokeswoman said late Tuesday the search engine giant and ultra high-speed internet provider would still seek to bring the sought-after service to the city.

The Courier-Journal reported Tuesday evening that plans for a Louisville expansion would be "halted" in the wake of Google Fiber CEO Craig Barratt's resignation and the company's plan to lay off employees and develop new deployment methods in some cities where it was seeking to expand.

Shortly after, a Google Fiber spokeswoman said in an email forwarded to WFPL News by Mayor Greg Fischer's office that "we continue to explore Google Fiber in Louisville." She specifically mentioned a recent "one touch make ready" ordinance approved by the Metro Council as "great progress" and said the company is "still figuring out the path" to hook the city up to its fiber internet service.

"We'll make a full announcement with the city at the right time," she said.

Fischer confirmed that in a tweet late Tuesday.

"Tonight's announcement by Google [Fiber] does not impact Louisville," he said.

City officials tout Google Fiber and the fast internet speeds it brings as key to the city's economic development agenda. The service is considered by some to be a boon for business growth and residential property values, and it can spark competition in cities.

Efforts to attract Google Fiber led to a lawsuit earlier this year, after the council approved the controversial "one touch make ready" ordinance, which council members see as a way to streamline the process for bringing ultra-fast internet service to Louisville by reducing the time and work needed to fit new cabling onto existing poles.

Officials at AT&T argue the ordinance is beyond the duties of the Metro Council.

Google Fiber is coming to the city's defense in that suit. The company is seeking to send attorneys to Louisville to help the city win the suit.

Jacob Ryan joined LPM in 2014. Ryan is originally from Eddyville, Kentucky. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.