Gigabit Cities

Former Qualcomm Exec to Head Google Fiber

Google Fiber has named a new boss with a telecom industry pedigree to take the helm as it continues to pursue its gigabit network expansion.

The company has tapped Dennis Kish, late of Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM), to lead its fiber effort, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Kish replaces Milo Medin, who will remain a Google vice president for access services and adviser to the Google Fiber team, says the report.

Kish joined Google Fiber Inc. just three months ago as a VP, after more than three years as senior VP and GM of Qualcomm's MEMS technology division, according to his LinkedIn profile. The management maneuver comes just five months after another Qualcomm alum, Craig Barratt, was promoted from the Google ranks to be senior VP of access and energy and oversee Google Fiber. Barratt was president of Qualcomm Atheros as the result of Qualcomm's acquisition of Atheros Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: ATHR), where he was CEO.

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Google is so far keeping mum on the moves. Clearly, both Barratt and Kish have deep broadband technology expertise, but neither appear to have experience in network operations or broadband service strategy -- which is notable, since Medin was one of the founders of the cable Internet joint venture @Home Network and the CTO of one-time national broadband hopeful M2Z Networks prior to joining Google.

Despite the general prominence and brand recognition of Google, pressure is mounting from a broad range of entities deploying gigabit networks -- ranging from telecom and cable operators to municipalities and utilities. While Google Fiber has three active gigabit cities and has earmarked nine more for deployment, gigabit deployment in smaller towns around the US is continuing apace -- often with unique business models in areas very close to Google Fiber territory. (See Connecticut Cities Crowdsource Gigabit Nets and North KC Says Free Gigabit for All.}

So the new leadership developments for Google Fiber could be nothing more than a routine shuffling of the ranks -- or they could be evidence Google views all the activity in the ultra high-speed networking realm as a threat to its plans for gigabit dominance.

— Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, Light Reading

MikeP688 9/30/2014 | 4:41:49 PM
Re: Change In Direction? Having been privy to the expansion of municipal wi-fi in my community, I think the smart strategy for Google is to pursue active/engaging partnerships with Cities.    As this gathers steam, it will pull the rug from under the "newbies" who are vying for a piece of the action.     
jasonmeyers 9/17/2014 | 3:41:25 PM
Re: Change In Direction? Thanks for weighing in, Teresa - I think that's a smart observation. If that's the case, I wonder what the Google Fiber model looks like a year or so down the line... do you think it could pursue more partnerships, teaming up with municipalities in areas where incumbent providers aren't stepping up? In that scenario, though, Google would still need to be the network expert to a degree, I suppose.     
tmastrangelo 9/17/2014 | 3:22:16 PM
Change In Direction? I think Google FIber has accomplished what it set out to do and that was ignite interest and investment in gigabit broadband.  With so many other operators stepping up to the plate - and many in proposed Google Fiber markets - it does not surprise me at all that they have essentially gone silent these last few months.  They've learned alot of lessons about building a network and its clear they are behind schedule in KC and Austin.  Perhaps they are going to shift their focus more towards applications and services.
Atlantis-dude 9/17/2014 | 3:21:42 PM
Re: Did he get booted or did he leave? r they rethinking access to use qualcomm based wireless tech?
jasonmeyers 9/17/2014 | 1:07:01 PM
Re: Did he get booted or did he leave? I think that's a great point. Maybe they don't care as much about being the (big, dumb) pipe as they do about being the application/services brand.
jasonmeyers 9/17/2014 | 1:05:29 PM
Re: Did he get booted or did he leave? KBode - yeah that's a mystery, and unfortunately Google is characteristically tight-lipped and declined an interview.
DOShea 9/17/2014 | 1:04:55 PM
Re: Did he get booted or did he leave? Maybe Google is starting to switch gears a little bit, realizing that its not going to keep up with the Gigabit movement it breathed some life into. Choosing leaders more associated with tech around the consumer experience, albeit at the chip level, might a hint that it will look to differentiate its fiber offering where it enters the home.
KBode 9/17/2014 | 12:18:11 PM
Did he get booted or did he leave? The Wall Street Journal article doesn't really say if he left on his own accord or was booted off the project. If so, why? Wonder if Google higher ups aren't that happy with the pace of deployment in Provo, Austin and Kansas City? Or maybe this is just a run of the mill guard change.
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