Google Fiber has reportedly fallen “well short” of its goal of signing up 5 million subscribers and may beÂ on the verge of makingÂ significant staff cuts.
“Last month, Alphabet CEO Larry Page ordered Google Fiberâ€™s chief, Craig Barratt, to halve the size of the Google Fiber team to 500 people,” according to a paywalled report from The Information that quotes people “close to Alphabet.”
The report does not say whether any staff cuts have already occurred.
Google Fiber was announced in February 2010, and its first deployment went live in Kansas City in November 2012. The company reportedly hoped to getÂ 5 million customersÂ within five years, but by the end of 2014, Google Fiber had just 200,000 Internet subscribers. While anÂ updated number hasn’t been revealed, “itâ€™s still well short of initial expectations,” The Information report said. The cost of installing fiber in each city has also exceeded Alphabet’sÂ expectations, the report said.
“It’s believed that the company’s TV subscriber sign-up totals have been even worse, with one analyst last March suggesting that Google Fiber had just 53,390 pay TV subscribers as of the end of last year,” DSLReports noted today.
We contacted Google Fiber about the reported subscriber numbers and staff cuts today butÂ have not received any official statement.
Google Fiber did just go live yesterday in Salt Lake City, Utah,Â its seventh metro area. But the ISP delayed plans to install fiber lines in San Jose last month, and it reportedly alsoÂ suspended a project in Portland, Oregon. Future constructionÂ could instead use wireless technology, which may speed up the pace of deployment. But Google Fiber’s wireless technology would be bestÂ suited to multi-unit residential buildings and businesses, potentially making it difficult to serve single-family homes.
During a recent earnings call (transcript),Â Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat said the company still sees Google Fiber as “a huge market opportunity” but that it’s “being thoughtful and deliberate in [its] execution path.”