Google pole problem is actually two situations. The Kansas City, Kansas operation was done via a not very detailed agreement about pole issues. The Kansas City, Missouri agreement has a agreement that went into much more detail about pole issues and who would do and pay for what, and when it would be done. What is happening now is the sort of detailed negotiation over pole issues that should have been done the first time for Kansas City, Kansas. All sides have learned lessons about doing big idea projects. Google's network engineers, contract lawyers, financial analysts, and others have learned about dealing with public utilities and local governments. The public utilities and local governments have learned about how to deal with big idea companies that are not used to dealing with the realities of utility worker safety, legal requirements for equal charges for pole placement and maintenance fees, and requirements not to disrupt existing services by those already on the pole. This is like when the US started is space exploration program. We made mistakes, mis-communicated, and had failures at different stages of exploration. But, we did not quit. We learned from our mistakes and got better at doing space exploration. Google will learn from this and get the network built. It may take a 2 to 3 years longer than Google originally planned, and cost more, but they will get the municipal laboratory they desire.
I am reminded of the fact that the Honda Corporation had for decades desired to enter the aviation business with a product that would do justice to Honda's relatively good reputation. They apparently have succeeded with the new Hondajet. Honda also stuck with a robotic program and a niche automobile safety program regarding pedestrians for years when other lesser companies would have stopped both projects. Google is not thinking only about financial performance for the next year or two, they are thinking about the financial performance for a dozen or two years from now..