Google Fiber Will Reduce Impact On Neighborhoods, Says Mayor

Apr 13, 2017

Mayor Ivy Taylor says when she asked the city to revisit the Google Fiber huts  and their impact on neighborhoods back in January, she didn't want to scare the company off. 

Remember this was just a few months after the company head, Craig Barratt, stepped down, they had stopped nixed expansion into several other cities, and they continued to lose money.

"I'm not on the inside of their business. I don't know what all their concerns are as far as their overall program for rolling it out, so yeah that was a concern."

Now months later, she sees the Haskin Park hut removal and replacement with a smaller infrastructure hub as a positive, because Google Fiber has told her they are going to continue in San Antonio with a smaller tech footprint.

"They continue to look at how they can best roll out the system. It looks like it will be less huts in general, smaller scale huts and shallow trenching techniques," says Taylor.

 Google has yet to release a public redesign for their work, but TPR has learned that they also may include wireless technologies to extend the network quicker. Google purchased wireless internet provider WebPass last year.  

When Google--with the city's blessing--built one of their network huts in the small Haskin Park on the city's northeast side, it became a flash point for a neighborhood that had seen several water pipe breaks and other property damage as a result of Google laying the fiber optic cable for the high-speed service. Complaints started coming in to the council district and to the mayors office, and the city paused construction.

Taylor says she felt it was the right move, "Because I wanted to ensure that to the largest extent possible San Antonians would continue to welcome the company. 

TPR: "And you saw that going the other direction?

Taylor: " Yes."

District 10 councilman Mike Gallagher says the removal is a win-win.

"Because we've been able to preserve having Google Fiber in the neighborhood, but at the same time we've reduced the impact on Haskin Park," says Gallagher.

It's unclear how the delay will affect the timeline for Google Fiber's completion.

Google Fiber hasn't commented on the future hut sizes or their network redesign, but in a statement said:

“We’ve heard from the community, loud and clear, that they want Google Fiber - but they also want it deployed with a minimum of disruption to San Antonio’s neighborhoods and citizens."