Google Fiber to launch in SLC by the end of this year

Posted at 3:56 PM, Mar 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-24 23:35:38-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Google Fiber's anticipated super high-speed Internet network is expected to launch here by the end of this year, company officials confirmed.

Google revealed Thursday it would begin offering its one Gigabit-per-second network in the latter-part of 2016, beginning in the area surrounding its new store in Trolley Square.

"We'll sort of offer service as we move construction throughout the city and bring service as quickly as we can to those zones," said Devin Baer, the associate city manager for Google Fiber's Utah services.

Appearing with Google at a news conference at Trolley Square, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski called it a "phenomenal project."

"I think everybody is very anxious for Google Fiber to go live sooner rather than later," she told FOX 13.

Google Fiber's new storefront at Trolley Square. (FOX 13 News)

Google Fiber's new storefront at Trolley Square. (FOX 13 News)

Infrastructure for Google Fiber is still being installed in the city. The project is not costing taxpayers anything to build, but the city council did give Google permission to piggyback on existing city infrastructure. Google won't reveal how much it is spending to build its fiber network, but Salt Lake City leaders are excited at the economic impact it will create.

"When we're talking about attracting tech-savvy industry, a workforce that wants access to the Internet, this is one of the critical components," said Salt Lake City Councilman Stan Penfold.

Penfold said he believed news of Google's massive project in Salt Lake City has prompted its competitors to up their game. In a statement to FOX 13, Comcast said it launched 2 Gig service earlier this year and plans even faster service in the future.

"We are pleased to be a Gigabit leader in Utah, offering Gigabit speeds to customers since early 2014. We are delivering on our promise to be the next-generation technology provider to our Salt Lake City customers and will continue to add to the growing list of gigabit-enabled residences and businesses," Jeremy Ferkin, CenturyLink's vice-president of Utah operations said in a statement.

Mayor Biskupski said she was excited about Google's offer to wire every home in the city, which she said will bridge a "digital divide" between upper and lower-class homes, particularly on the city's west side.

"There's a real lack of service over there," she said. "And a real lack of opportunity inside individual homes and residences."