It's On in Provo: Municipal Council Approves Google Fiber Buy

As expected, the Provo Municipal Council unanimously approved the measure regarding bringing Google to town to take over the city’s struggling iProvo fiber network. Google will retrofit the network for its Google Fiber service, which will make the relatively small town of Provo just the third locale with the gigabit Internet and TV service.

The Salt Lake Tribune grabbed some more specific details, including confirming that Provo is selling the network to Google for the ceremonial price of one dollar. Google will offer its 5Mbps Internet service to Provo residents for free for 7 years and also ensure that all homes have access to the service. (Whether that means that Google will waive the $300 construction fee or not remains to be seen.)

Provo Municipal Council
Matt Dunne of Google and Provo Mayor John Curtis (Credit: Salt Lake Tribune)

The council snagged one truly excellent promise from Google: the company must deliver its gigabit service for free to public schools, recreation centers, and nearly two dozen other public institutions.

Unfortunately, that’s the only savvy financial decision that Provo’s council finagled here, apart from the obvious long-term benefits of having Google Fiber in town. Provo’s residents still have to pay of the initial debt of the old network’s construction--some $3.3 million per year for the next 12 years--as well as $722,000 to upgrade equipment so that government operations already using the fiber network can continue to use it when Google makes upgrades. There’s also going to be an embarrassing $500,000 fee for a civil engineering firm to sort out where the fiber cables were buried, because the original construction company didn’t bother to keep track.

Google will lease its network to the city for 15 years. In that time, the city should pay off its fiber debt and start feeling the full benefits of Google Fiber without the old debt hanging over its head.
Clixxer one year ago

This is going to be interesting watch. If Google shows it can come in and retrofit fiber networks that other cities have and it work well then I could see alot of cities coming at Google for the same deal. Even with Provo still on the hook for another 40.8 mil that is still a deal to have Google finish the network and get everything running and when the lease is up they should have everything paid for and a sparkling fiber network that Google will no doubt keep maintenance up on.

MayhemMatthew one year ago

A city council that doesnt completely suck! Lucky Provo.

Clixxer one year ago

Well I bet someone wanted to vote against it for some stupid reason like "why can't we get apple to do this?" or whatever, or maybe they are smart who knows like ya said MayhemMatthew they are lucky.

ajm531 one year ago

well regardless if there was one stupid person the rest were extremely smart and google is just awesome. I really really hope this continues to be as successful as it already seems to be. I wonder how long it will take get the city covered though. Either way free internet i mean thats a pretty bomb deal for the townsfolk. If that previous network wasnt working out then they will not regret this decision fo sho

Clixxer one year ago

I think Google projected it to be online and working by the end of the year. From what I have read the network is pretty much done, its just a matter of getting it to everyone as per the agreement and then the retrofit for their equipment. They will have it before Austin does, that is for sure.

KennethWright one year ago

I live in Provo and currently use the fiber network that they've set up. It's been a great internet provider (except for the fact that it seems like every year it changes companies). Just to give you guys a heads up, it was approved unanimously. Now all that remains is mapping the fiber network (how did they not keep a map?), fixing whatever problems they find while mapping, and then having google come in and do their thing. They predict Provo will actually have the full network working before anywhere else (Kansas City is still under development). And yes, the city still has to pay $40M+ dollars, but on a whole, with the free internet for at least 7 years with approx 26,000 homes saving around $30 a month, that's $50M that Provo citizens can keep in their wallets (and hopefully spend else where). Add on top of that the increase growth of businesses and Provo has a winning formula here.

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