Despite a widely circulated report last month that Google Fiber is set to curtail its deployment plans, the company has announced that it is charging ahead with a new pay-TV interface, and is also taking sign-ups for new customers in North Carolina.
Receiving its biggest face lift since launching in 2012, the Google Fiber video interface has been redesigned to add more metadata, a reorganized DVR and new recommendation functions.
“It can be tough to find the shows and movies you love — or discover new ones. So we redesigned Fiber TV’s interface to make it easier to recognize the shows you’re looking for,” said Google in a blog post announcing the redesign. “We added helpful information like Rotten Tomatoes ratings to the program description. And we reorganized the DVR to make it easier to navigate your recordings.”
The announcement comes after MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett published data from a U.S. Copyright Office filing showing that Google Fiber had only 68,715 video customers as of the end of June — a tiny share of the market, given the service has been around for four years.
For their part, Google Fiber reps say their primary business is high-speed internet, not pay-TV. Rumors have been widely circulating that, under the direction of parent company Alphabet, Google Fiber is stepping back from fiber deployment and may instead pursue a strategy centered around wireless broadband.
However, in emails to FierceCable late last week, a Google Fiber rep said, “We’re very pleased with Google Fiber TV sign-ups, which have been very strong. In the past two months since this filing we opened new cities including Atlanta, Charlotte and Salt Lake City, so we expect the growth to continue.
This week, the service started taking new sign-ups in the “Triangle Area” of North Carolina, with a website announcing the availability of 1-gig speeds for $70 a month, or 1-gig broadband plus pay-TV for $140 a month, among other plans.
Google Fiber’s tiny pay-TV sub numbers may explain why service is reportedly scaling back buildout
Report: Google Fiber accounts for only 5/100ths of 1% of U.S. pay-TV market
Google Fiber’s struggles highlight value in using existing dark, shared fiber assets