Published On: Wed, Feb 7th, 2018

Alphabet hires Time Warner Cable executive to lead Access and Google Fiber


Google parent company Alphabet has tapped Dinesh Jain, former chief operating officer at Time Warner Cable, to lead up its Access division, which includes the Google Fiber unit and internet service provider Webpass. Jain is replacing former Access CEO Greg McCray, who left last year amid turmoil at Access over the future of Google Fiber and Alphabet’s longer-term plans for providing low-cost, high-speed internet to both consumers and businesses.

“Dinesh “Dinni” Jain, an accomplished veteran of the US and European cable and telecommunications industries — most recently as chief operating officer at Time Warner Cable — starts as CEO of Access today,” reads a post published today on the official Google Fiber blog. “He will lead Access and its team, which includes employees at our headquarters in California and in the nearly 20 markets across the country where Google Fiber and Webpass have ongoing operations.”

Alphabet first purchased Webpass, a San Francisco-based gigabit internet provider, in June of 2016, one year after the massive restructuring of Google that separated out Fiber and numerous other units from the search giant under the new Alphabet Inc. umbrella. At the time, Webpass became part of the newly minted Access division. Access operates under Alphabet leadership, which includes Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and is separate from Google proper. As part of the restructuring, Page and Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat reportedly began putting pressure on non-Google divisions within Alphabet to more aggressively find a path to profitability or risk downsizing or shuttering altogether, leading to a fair amount of executive turnover across the board.

In the intervening months since the Webpass purchase, Google Fiber has struggled to progress in its US expansion plans. In October 2016, then-CEO Craig Barratt announced layoffs in the Fiber unit and also confirmed that he would no longer lead the Access division, with the search for a replacement CEO taking place shortly thereafter. Google Fiber also “paused” launches in nine markets at the time as it reevaluated whether laying fiber optic cable was a viable business model. It was thought at the time that Webpass would becoming Access’ new vehicle for launching gigabit internet, as Webpass uses wireless transmission via rooftop satellites on existing apartment complexes.

In February, Access hired McCray, former Aero Communications chief exec, as its new CEO and announced that hundreds of staff at the division would be shifted over to Google proper. McCray only stayed on as CEO until five months, becoming the second Access chief to step down. Just last month, Webpass announced that it would be leaving the Boston market, one of only eight cities the company serves, due to apparent performance reasons. As it stands right now, Google Fiber is actively shrinking as Access figures out what to do with its current Fiber markets and those served exclusively by Webpass. So needless to say, Jain has his work cut out for him as the division’s new chief exec.



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