CenturyLink board member Gregory McCray brought in as Internet giant reportedly shifts hundreds of Access staff to Google.

Google parent Alphabet this week hired a new leader for its Access division, which includes it beleaguered fibre business, amid speculation about the unit’s future direction.

Bloomberg reported late on Wednesday that Gregory McCray, former CEO of telco field services provider Aero Communications and current member of CenturyLink’s board, has replaced Craig Barratt, who stepped down in October and took on an advisory role.

"Google Fiber has been instrumental [in] making the Web faster and better for everyone – something I’ve been passionate about my entire career," McCray said, in the report.

Barratt’s resignation coincided with the decision by Google Fiber to halt its network rollout in new cities and cut jobs.

Google Fiber networks are up and running in nine cities, and construction is underway on networks in another two cities, according to Google Fiber’s Website.

In addition, a further six locations are covered by Webpass networks. Webpass, an ISP that operates fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) networks and point-to-point millimetre wave (mmWave) radio networks, was acquired by Alphabet in June 2016.

Speculation is rife that Alphabet plans to focus on Webpass for network deployment going forward, because it is cheaper than deploying FTTP.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg also cited sources claiming that Access is being slimmed down, with several hundred employees transferred to the Google business instead.