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Now You Can Hate Google Like You Hate Comcast

Rarely is the hatred toward a cable company more tangible than during outages at national sporting events.

Getty Images / MLB

Google is a beloved brand. It provides products, like Gmail, Maps and Calendar, that people use every day, largely without hiccups.

It also provides a cable and broadband service, Google Fiber. When these services have hiccups, they incite rage. Look no further than consumer satisfaction surveys, which typically rank cable operators near the bottom with oil companies and the banks. People hate their cable providers.

Rarely is this hatred more tangible than during outages at national sporting events. That is precisely what happened during the first game of the World Series Tuesday night in Kansas City, the maiden city for Google Fiber. The game was struck by two simultaneous service cuts: One from Fox Sports, the game’s broadcaster, and another from Google Fiber, which services several thousand Kansas City homes with its high-speed broadband.

Subscribers to Google Fiber were blacked out from the game at its onset, missing a rare inside-the-park home run.

Google Fiber sent out this mea culpa tweet:

Then, later in the night, it offered this apologia:

On Tuesday night, some Google Fiber customers in Kansas City experienced a service outage. With the World Series playing, we know this was an important night for Kansas Citians, and we’re sorry for the interruption. Our teams worked quickly to fix the issue, restoring service for most people within the hour. All service was restored by 10:15pm local time.

In the outage’s wake, Fiber took some hits online. The business has pledged some aggressive expansion, yet it has only begun laying fiber networks in nine cities, and is only active in three of them, including Kansas City. As it expands, it will face not just expanding costs — on its recent earnings call, the company only cited Fiber as a potential source of capital expenditures growth — but the cost of doing business in one of the most reviled industries in the nation.

Notably, Fox Sports, which blamed its own outage on a “rare electronics failure,” seemed to attract the brunt of the initial backlash.

Update: It’s worth noting that Google Fiber promptly gave its subscribers a two-day service credit after the outage, alerting them via email. A reader wrote in to alert us, adding, “I don’t recall Time Warner ever doing this.”

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