Google Fiber appears to be slowing its progress as its Webpass service has suddenly left Boston.
Webpass, which was bought by Google Fiber back in 2016, is now no longer taking in new customers in Boston, according to the Verge, as Webpass “winds down” in the area. The Webpass service was only offered in apartments and condos.
This news comes after a long stretch of reports about Google Fiber’s slowing expansion. As far back as 2016, NPR reported that Google Fiber would not be expanding to any more cities, staying only in the areas it had already been released. At this point, there was already talk about Google Fiber’s struggles with cost issues and lofty goals. Then in March of last year, installations were cancelled in Kansas City (Google Fiber’s first location). Now, articles like the most recent from The Verge suggest Google Fiber really is slowing its expansion dramatically—even going backwards, dropping to one fewer city.
Google Fiber, as you may know, is Google’s effort to release extremely fast and affordable internet that competes with the big providers. It offers speeds of up to a thousand megabits per second, no rental fees, and low pricing for some. When it was initially promoted and then released, it generated a lot of news and excitement from the people in cities that would potentially get access.
However, Google Fiber has also been in the news more recently for not so great reasons. Aside from reports of a slow in the service’s growth, other stories have made the rounds. In January of this year, Fiber’s vice president of communications and policy left Fiber to move over to Niantic (most well-known for Pokemon Go).
The news about Webpass’ exit from Boston is not the kind of news Google Fiber’s potential future customers want to hear. However, The Verge does note that the other seven Webpass cities likely have nothing to worry about, as there don’t seem to be plans to pull out of other cities at this time.