Google Fiber's blazingly fast gigabit Internet speeds will come to Provo, Utah, later this year, Google and the city announced today.
Although Provo is already wired for fiber, Google Fiber general manager Kevin Lo said at the press conference revealing the partnership that the company will need to upgrade the current fiber network, which has seen several owners since it was built in 2004.
Google Fiber will bring "free basic broadband service for every Provo resident for at least seven years, and free gigabit connectivity for hospitals and schools," he said.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert was enthusiastic for the Google take-over of iProvo. "Provo will be one of the first cities in the world that access to basic broadband will flow like water or electricity. It will be everywhere, and I think that's pretty cool," he said.
Located about 43 miles south of Salt Lake City, Provo built its fiber network iProvo nearly 10 years ago. iProvo then changed hands several times, first sold to the Utah-based Internet service provider Broadweave Networks for $40.6 million. Veracity Networks subsequently bought Broadweave and had been operating the fiber network until the city bought iProvo back last year.
"No doubt, this journey needs a partner like Google Fiber," said Provo Mayor John Curtis.
Assuming the Provo City Council approves the deal that Curtis orchestrated, Google is promising free 5 Mbps to every home on the existing iProvo network for a $30 activation fee and no monthly charge for seven years. Google Fiber's Gigabit Internet service, which the company says can be up to 100 times faster than current broadband speeds, and Google Fiber TV, will be available for an additional, undisclosed fee. Google plans to provide Gigabit Internet service for free to 25 local public institutions such as hospitals, libraries, and schools.
Provo's citizens were cool to adopt the previous fiber service, with peak usage hitting around 10,000 people in 2008. Google wants to have the entire city of around 112,000 people connected, and Lo said that Google expects to start getting residents online with its service later this year.
Provo is the third U.S. city to get Google Fiber, following announcements for Austin, Texas, and Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo.