Big tech companies have the potential to greatly change a city’s landscape — for better or for worse. Recently, Google announced it will be paying the Louisville Metro Government (LMG) millions to repair roads after a failed Fiber experiment.
Back in February, Google’s parent company — Alphabet — revealed it would end its attempts to roll out its internet services across Louisville. In a blog post, the Fiber team said, “We’ll work with our customers and partners to minimize disruption, and we’re committed to doing right by the community, which welcomed us as we tested methods of delivering high-speed internet in new and different ways.”
In this case, “doing right by the community” looks like paying out $3.84 million over 20 months. According to a press release from the the City of Louisville, money will go towards removing fiber cables and sealant from roads, milling and paving activities, and removal of above-ground infrastructure.
“This plan provides for the long-term protection of the city’s infrastructure and empowers LMG to prioritize and execute all aspects of the required work based on the needs of the community,” Mark Strama, General Manager for Google Fiber, said. “We are also happy to be able to support digital inclusion efforts in Louisville to increase internet access and digital literacy across the city.”
In addition, Google will make a $150,000 donation to the Community Foundations of Louisville’s Digital Inclusion Fund. The company will also donate 275 refurbished computers to the Louisville Metro Housing Authority.
“Infrastructure in neighborhoods and public properties affected by Google Fiber will look as good or better than they did before the company began construction, just as our franchise agreement stipulated,” Grace Simrall, LMG’s Chief of Civic Innovation & Technology, said. “The city will diligently repair these roads and public spaces over the 20-month period.”
Simrall noted that Google Fiber’s presence did cause other companies to step up and increase investment in Louisville, adding, “Moreover, we appreciate Google Fiber’s donation to our digital inclusion work, because improving equity in access to technology and digital skills is essential for Louisville’s economy today and tomorrow.”