Google's parent hired a veteran wireless technology executive to oversee its Fiber project amid reports of further staff cuts at the bumpy six-year effort to bring gigabit Internet connections to home consumers.
Gregory McCray, CEO of Aero Communications, will become CEO of Access, the unit of Alphabet that runs Google Fiber, replacing Craig Barratt, who departed last year. At the same time, several hundred employees will be shifted to new jobs at Google or other units of Alphabet, the Wall Street Journal reported. The cuts are even deeper than the 9% reduction imposed last October, the paper reported.
Google confirmed the hire on Thursday. "Google Fiber remains focused on our customers and cities," the company said in a statement. "We want to bring Google Fiber to customers faster, so we’re focused on making deployment more efficient and less intrusive."
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Google started the ambitious effort in 2010 to sign up potentially millions of consumers for Internet service 50 to 100 times faster than the typical home received at the time. But by last year, with new CFO Ruth Porat seeking to impose greater fiscal discipline, Alphabet cut back on those ambitions, halting expansion to new cities and laying off staff.
More recently, Google has been exploring whether it can reduce the cost of connecting homes by using wireless technology. In December, speculation arose that Google might get out of the business completely and sell or spin off the unit.
McCray, who has degrees in computer and systems engineering along with a Harvard MBA, worked at IBM and AT&T's Bell Laboratories early in his career. He ran wireless antenna designer Antenova for a decade and then headed Aero, a contract installer of wired and wireless network equipment, for the past four years.