Google Fiber headed to Provo, Utah

April 17, 2013

Google said Wednesday that it plans to make Provo, Utah its third Google Fiber City.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company announced that it will take its high-speed gigabit Internet service to Provo by taking over an existing fiber-optic network there. The official launch of the service is delayed, pending a vote by the Provo City Council scheduled for Tuesday.

Google said it has agreed to purchase an existing fiber-optic network there called iProvo. As part of the acquisition, Google will commit to upgrading the network to enable every home currently connected to iProvo to access Fiber’s network.

Provo began building its own network in 2004 to provide high-speed Internet access to its growing technology community. The city began looking for someone to buy the network nearly 18 months ago, the city said in a statement.

“Now, we’re able to realize the dream of providing reliable access to Provoans in a viable way,” said Mayor John Curtis. “This is a very exciting moment for Provo.”

As part of the deal, Google also will offer its free Internet service (at 5 Mbps speeds) to every home on the existing network for at least seven years. Users will have to pay a $30 activation fee. This is similar to the deal that Google announced for Austin, Texas earlier this month.

Google also is offering free gigabit service to 25 local public institutions, which the company said includes schools, hospitals and libraries.

The tech titan said that Provo was an ideal place to launch its high-speed network — not only because it is home to a growing technology and start-up community, but also because it’s been voted one of the best places to live and work in the country.

Provo will be the third U.S. city to get Google Fiber. Kansas City, Kan., was the first, after winning a nationwide contest that Google launched in 2012. Earlier this month, Google said that it would bring Fiber toAustin, after working with city officials to ease regulatory hurdles to developing the network there.

As The Washington Post reported, Google executives have not said whether the company will offer Fiber deals to other cities, but said they consider the Fiber project similar to services such as YouTube and its Android smartphone system — smaller initiatives that the company experimented with before they grew into big successes.

Google’s entry into the the broadband space also could continue to spur other companies to offer high-speed Internet in order to compete. As the Post reported, Time Warner Cable began offering faster speeds to business users in Kansas City after Google’s announcement there. Similarly, AT&T said it would bring consumers and businesses the higher-speed networks if the city of Austin would ease regulations for AT&T as well.

Related stories:

Google expanding super-fast Internet service to Austin

Kansas City, Kan., wins Google’s fiber network

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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