Google on Thursday notified Leawood residents who had expressed interest in receiving the company’s high-speed Fiber internet and television service that it no longer plans to build out its network in the city.
The email sent to hundreds of Leawood residents says the company made the decision after finding that the build out project in Leawood “would require a much more difficult construction effort and schedule than anticipated.”:
Contacted Thursday afternoon, Leawood City Administrator Scott Lambers said a confidentiality agreement prevented him from commenting on the specifics of the situation, but confirmed that Google Fiber had informed the city it no longer planned to build out its network there. Lambers said that Google had unilaterally pulled out of negotiations between the two parties in a publicly filed document in late August, a year after Google and Leawood signed the agreement to bring Fiber to the city. A 30-day waiting period required for the termination of the negotiations to become official ended in late September.
Fiber spokeswoman Kelly Mason said she could only echo what was already stated in the email: “We’ve been working hard to figure out how to make a fiber construction project work in Leawood, but we’ve found that it would require a much more difficult construction effort and schedule than planned. So unfortunately, we won’t be bringing Google Fiber to Leawood.”
Though neither side will comment on what issues halted implementation of agreement to bring Fiber to Leawood, it’s possible that Leawood development ordinances requiring utilities to be buried — as opposed to hung from utility poles, as is allowable in surrounding communities — could have led to Google’s decision. Burying utilities is considerably more expensive than hanging them from utility poles.
On Monday, however, Leawood’s City Council will discuss a memorandum of understanding that would allow AT&T to explore bringing an internet service to the city that would compete with Fiber’s speed.