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Provo – Mayor John Curtis announced an agreement yesterday to make Provo the third City in the United States to have access to Google Fiber’s ultra high-speed Gigabit Internet, and one of the first cities in the world to have ubiquitous internet connectivity in nearly every home. Under the terms of the agreement, which is subject to approval by the Provo City Council and other closing conditions, Google Fiber would purchase the city’s existing fiber-optic network. The city created the existing network, named iProvo, in 2004. “Provo City’s vision has long been one where our residents have access to reliable high-speed broadband Internet,” Curtis said. “We know that communities are better – and communities are stronger – when people are connected. With this agreement, we have an opportunity to do things that few communities in this country get to do.”
Provo would be just the third city in the U.S. to have access to Google Fiber, behind Kansas City and Austin, which was announced just last week. “We are really excited to work with the city to realize the original vision of the iProvo network. This is a unique opportunity for Google Fiber to partner with an existing municipal network,” said Kevin Lo, general manager of Google Fiber. “Utah is already home to hundreds of tech companies and startups, and many of them are based in Provo. These businesses, and hopefully many more startups, will be able to use Google Fiber to create the applications of the future.”
Almost 18 months ago, the City began looking for a buyer for the troubled iProvo network through an extensive RFP process and direct outreach to potential buyers. Curtis approached Google Fiber about the possibility of it purchasing the network from the city. “When I came into office, iProvo was deemed to be the single biggest problem facing Provo City,” Curtis said. “The first step was to address the outstanding bond on the network, which we’ve done. Now, we’re able to realize the dream of providing reliable access to Provoans in a viable way. This is a very exciting moment for Provo.”
If the agreement is ultimately approved, Google Fiber would commit to upgrade the iProvo network to Gigabit technology and finish network construction so that every home along the existing network would have the opportunity to connect to Google Fiber. The company would also offer free Internet service (at 5 Mbps speeds) to every home along the existing iProvo network for a $30 activation fee and no monthly charge for at least seven years. Additionally, Google Fiber would provide free gigabit internet service to 25 local public institutions, including schools, hospitals and libraries. The City has scheduled a series of community meetings to further discuss the proposed agreement with Provo residents.