Google Fiber coming to Provo

Posted at 1:43 PM, Apr 17, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-18 13:07:45-04

Video: Provo Mayor John Curtis and Google’s Matt Dunne talk about bringing Google Fiber to Provo

PROVO, Utah -- Internet behemoth Google announced it would bring its Google Fiber network to this city, making it the third in America to offer high-speed Internet for free.

Provo Mayor John Curtis and Utah Governor Gary Herbert announced Google Fiber to cheers from a crowd of more than a hundred who gathered at the Utah Valley Convention Center on Wednesday.

"I could not be more pleased to find a partner like Google," Curtis told the crowd.

Google would take over iProvo, the city's existing -- and troubled -- Internet network that was built at a cost of nearly $40 million.. Google, however, would purchase the network for only $1, leaving taxpayers to continue to pay for iProvo.

"We have maximized what we have here today," said Curtis. "It's about maximizing what we have. I believe in the long-term it will pay dividends many times greater than what we paid into it, but it's going to take a while to realize that dream."

Google said it would invest in upgrades to iProvo, as well as completing network access to nearly 28,000 homes. The company would not say how much it planned to invest in it.

The deal is subject to approval from the Provo City Council, which is expected to consider the sale next week.

Google executives said that they would offer free broadband speed Internet for free to Provo residents for the first seven years. Google Fiber would then charge for gigabit speed (the average Internet speed is 5-6 megabits per second, a gigabit is about 1,000 megabits per second). Google Fiber would also offer TV access.

"From Google's standpoint, we have always made very early investments in key trends that move the Internet forward -- from video to mobile to cloud computing, and we believe that the future of the web is really built on gigabit speeds," Kevin Lo, Google Fiber's General Manager told FOX 13 in an interview Wednesday.

The announcement is not expected to bring any new jobs with it, but Mayor Curtis said they were hoping it would lure tech companies to the Provo area. Google noted that this part of the state is second in the nation when it comes to intellectual property patents, a promising sign for tech development.

Many who work for Internet startups and tech firms in Utah County believe it will create a boom of development.

"This area is so technologically forward," said Aaron Christiansen. "This is like the new Silicon Valley, the Utah Valley."

Haley Cano called Google's announcement "revolutionary."

"It's going to stop other internet service providers from cheating everyone and taking advantage of everyone," she said. "Because they give you the slowest Internet connection possible and charge you a ridiculous amount for it."

Google said it hoped to begin offering the first access to consumers by the end of 2013.

"The really great thing about it is when everything's said and done, Provo will be one of the first cities in the world where basic access to broadband is just there," Lo said. "It's going to be ubiquitous, and that's cool."