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Google Fiber putting hold on operations in Phoenix, seven other cities

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — Internet giant Google has put a temporary hold on its high-speed internet operation, Fiber, in Phoenix and seven other cities, it was confirmed Tuesday.

“Going forward, we’re focusing on new technology and deployment methods to make superfast internet more abundant than it is today,” a Google spokesperson said in an email. “For now, that means we’re going to pause our operations and offices in Phoenix while we refine our approaches.”

Google’s parent company is halting operations and laying off staff in all eight cities where it once hoped to bring high-speed internet access by installing new fiber-optic networks.

Google was reportedly testing a wireless version of its Fiber technology in Phoenix because of the costs incurred building a high-speed fiber optics system.

Phoenix has been in a target for Google Fiber for several years. Though it missed out on the high-speed internet service last year, the city council approved a cable license for the service in an attempt to lure the internet giant to the Valley.

The license doesn’t guarantee building, but, “grants Google Fiber the authority to use city streets and rights-of-way to provide cable television and Internet services within Phoenix,” according to a release. 

The other cities affected by Tuesday’s announcement are Dallas, Tampa and Jacksonville, Florida; Los Angeles; Oklahoma City; Portland, Oregon; and San Jose, California.

The company also announced that Craig Barratt, a veteran tech executive who led the ambitious Google Fiber program, is stepping down as CEO of Access, the division of Google corporate parent, Alphabet Inc., that operates the 5-year-old program.

Barratt didn’t say how many jobs will be cut. His statement described the Access business as “solid,” but said it would make “changes to focus our business and product strategy” and incorporate new technology.

A recent report by tech news site The Information said the business was under pressure by Alphabet CEO Larry Page to cut costs after failing to meet financial goals, including a target of signing up 5 million subscribers.

Barratt said he’ll continue to serve as an adviser to Page.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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