Google Fiber’s wireless leader Barr suddenly departs

Google Fiber’s wireless leader, Charles Barr, has left the company, marking the latest in a string of executives to leave the internet search giant’s broadband venture management team.

Citing two people close to Webpass, a report in the The Information revealed that Barr left the company last week for undisclosed reasons.

Barr came to the company when Google Fiber purchased wireless internet provider Webpass last year to enhance its network reach by using microwave wireless technology. Webpass mainly focuses on providing Ethernet-based services to businesses using a mix of fiber and broadband wireless technologies. However, the service provider does provide 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps fiber-based residential broadband speeds in select markets.

RELATED: Google Fiber acquires Webpass, bolsters fiber network expansion plans

Google Fiber would not comment on Barr’s departure other than to say that it is committed to using the Webpass technology as one of the tools to address customer’s broadband needs.

“Webpass has a great model for serving customers with a variety of access technologies,” Google Fiber said in a statement to FierceTelecom. “They've grown their customer base over the past year since Fiber acquired them, and we're excited to continue that growth.”

Still, Barr’s departure comes at what has been a disruptive period for Google Fiber. It also perhaps illustrates ongoing dissension in the internet search giant’s management team. In less than a year, Google Fiber parent Alphabet has delayed service expansions to new markets and laid off staff at Google Fiber.

More recently, Google Fiber announced that when it rolls out FTTH service in Louisville, Kentucky, and San Antonio, customers will only be able to get an internet connection but no video service. The service provider said in a blog post that it is also seeing more of its customers forgoing traditional linear TV in favor of online options like Netflix and Hulu to get their content over an internet connection.

But Barr is not the only executive that has flown the Google Fiber coop.

Gregory McCray (Adtran)
Greg McCray

In July, Gregory McCray stepped down as the CEO of Alphabet’s Access operation that contains Google Fiber. The company did not provide any reason why he left, and it did not announce a replacement. Earlier, Alphabet gutted the expansion plan proposed by McCray’s predecessor, Craig Barratt.

Barratt wanted to expand into another eight cities. Instead, Alphabet laid off 9% of the division’s workforce. Following that change, Barratt left in October 2016. McCray was hired in February.