Google Fiber Leaves Leawood Behind

More than a year after striking a deal that would allow it to build its fiber-fed 1-Gig broadband and TV services into Leawood, Kan., Google Fiber has decided not to go through with it because of construction issues.

Google Fiber spread the word via email last Thursday (November 30) week to people who had pre-registered for services, according to The Kansas City Star.

“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,” Google Fiber said in a statement that echoed the message sent to prospective customers in the city.

A statement from Leawood updating the Google Fiber situation posted on October 31 indicates that the relationship has gone sour.

Leawood noted it couldn’t comment on why “Google decided to unilaterally cancel the agreement,” citing “confidentiality clause that remains in effect for BOTH parties.”

However, the city added that it is “having a legal review performed to determine if the communication by Google violates that clause, and if so, would render it null and void and thus allow the City to issue a press release regarding the facts of the situation which has been prepared and is ready to be released, but remains sealed.”

Google Fiber and Leawood struck their original agreement in August 2013.

But with Google Fiber now out of the picture, It appears that the area’s incumbent telco, AT&T, intends to enter it by deploying its 1-Gig-capable “GigaPower” service. According to the city, the government on Monday (November 3) was to consider a Memorandum of Understanding with AT&T to bring high-speed service to Leawood that “is similar to what Google was offering to provide.”

In August, AT&T announced it would expand “GigaPower” to parts of Overland Park, Kan., adding that it would also consider building out to other nearby cities in Kansas and Missiouri, including Independence, Kansas City, Leawood, and Shawnee

AT&T was not immediately available for comment, but Leawood City Administrator Scott Lambers told Light Reading that the MOU was unanimously approved Monday night.

Update: In a statement, AT&T said "ratification of the MOU by the city council is an indication of our mutual interests in working to potentially bring the AT&T GigaPower network to Leawood."

In addition to the Kansas City area, Google Fiber offers service in Provo, Utah, and is in the process of deploying its network in Austin, Texas. Google Fiber is also exploring whether to expand to as many as 34 cities, and is expected to announce its picks before the end of 2014.