SAN FRANCISCO — Google Fiber is halting its rollout in 10 cities and laying off staff as its chief executive, Craig Barratt, steps down, dealing a major setback to the Internet giant’s ambitions of blanketing the nation in super-speedy Internet.
Barratt, CEO of Alphabet’s Access division who had been in charge of Google Fiber, said in a blog post that he would stay on as an adviser.
Fiber is changing its business and product strategy to focus on new technology and deployment methods “to make superfast Internet more abundant than it is today,” Barratt said.
Cities that have begun to roll out Fiber will continue. But, Barratt said, operations will pause in “potential Fiber cities” where Fiber has been in exploratory discussions.
“We’re confident we’ll have an opportunity to resume our partnership discussions once we’ve advanced our technologies and solutions. In this handful of cities that are still in an exploratory stage, and in certain related areas of our supporting operations, we’ll be reducing our employee base,” Barratt wrote.
Google Fiber is in eight metropolitan areas and is committed to building in another four. It has been rethinking how it delivers speedy broadband access, shifting to wireless, a less expensive alternative to digging up streets and laying down fiber cables. Fiber is striving to bring Internet speeds of one gigabit per second to cities around the country, but progress has been slow.