What has happened?

In April, Google agreed to pay the city of Louisville, Kentucky, $3.84 million over the next 20 months to repair the damage caused by its failed Google Fiber service to restore the infrastructure affected, including roads and pavements to appear better than they did prior to construction commenced 1 year and half ago.

Google closed operations on Louisville’s Google Fiber project back in February this year, rather than rebuilding the network. The “shallow-trenching” method implemented deteriorated over-time which exposed trip-hazard cables and creating eye-sores on the city’s roads.

Not only did Google pay $3.84 million to repair the city’s roads but also contributed $150,000 to the city’s digital inclusion fund which assists in providing refurbished computers for those with low-income and cheap internet for tenants of public housing.

The Media Store Take

While Google does cut numerous projects year after year, these come with learnings that assisted the development of their existing offerings as well as others in the pipeline. Louisville’s failed Google Fiber project have improved the service of the other 16 Google Fiber cities.

Rather than packing up and leaving their consumers behind, Google acknowledged and out of respect, compensated them for the disruption caused.

While the expense was high to repair the city’s damage, it would have been a more expensive exercise to repair the damage of Google’s brand.

Whilst Google are synonymous with courageous testing and integrity, by going one step further they demonstrated that it is not enough to make a passive stand on the issues that affect their business and customers. With an agenda driven by the need to fix the problem and protect the safety of the people, this is an example of our trend – Social impact runs deep – in action.

Ed Ng