Google Fiber has hit the pause button when it comes to expansion, but reiterated that it will continue to push ahead and expand in its current batch of markets.
“We remain very committed to growth across those [existing] cities,” Ruth Porat, CFO of Google parent company Alphabet, said Thursday during the company’s Q3 earnings call.
Google Fiber was “very active in a lot of cities in the third quarter alone,” she added. “We rolled out four new cities, so that brings us to 12 cities across the U.S. where we’re deployed, in construction, or in development, and we’re making great progress in those cities.
Porat’s comments come just days after Google Fiber confirmed that it will temporarily halt expansion plans in “potential’” as it refines its deployment and technology approaches and continues to emphasize a future paved by new speedy (and less expensive) wireless platforms. Craig Barratt, CEO of Alphabet’s Access unit, is also stepping down from that role but staying on as an advisor.
“When you go back to the initial impetus for creating the business, it was the founders' view that there's a sizable opportunity given the need for abundant connectivity on networks that are always fast and always open, and we do continue to be committed to that vision,” Porat said, noting that the company has achieved “some important breakthroughs in new technologies,” particularly around wireless.
“We wanted to focus on the potential with these efforts before we reaccelerate deployment,” she added.
Google Fiber doesn’t break out revenues or subscribers, but it’s part of “Other Bets,” a unit of Alphabet that includes other early-stage and “moonshot” projects that span a wide range of industries.
In Q3, Other Bets posted an operating loss of $865 million, narrowed from a year-ago loss of $980 million on revenue s of $197 million, up from $141 million.
Other Bets revenue was primarily generated by Nest, Google Fiber, and Verily. Porat said Fiber investment remains the primary capex driver at Other Bets.