Google has announced the third U.S. city for its growing Google Fiber initiative: Provo, Utah.
“In order to bring Fiber to Provo, we’ve signed an agreement to purchase iProvo, an existing fiber-optic network owned by the city,” read a note on Google’s Official Blog. “As a part of the acquisition, we would commit to upgrade the network to gigabit technology and finish network construction so that every home along the existing iProvo network would have the opportunity to connect to Google Fiber.”
Before it can begin that work, however, Google needs the Provo City Council to approve the agreement, in a vote scheduled for April 23.
Provo began building a municipal high-speed network in 2004, and by 2011 was seeking a partner to help run it. Should the deal close, Google plans on offering free Internet (with 5 Mbps speeds) every home on the network, in exchange for a $30 activation fee; it will also offer the options of Google Fiber Gigabit Internet and Google Fiber TV service. Schools, hospitals and other institutions will receive free Gigabit Internet service.
According to Google, Provo ranks second in the nation in terms of patent growth, and ranks high on lists of top places to live and do business. “We believe the future of the Internet will be built on gigabit speeds, and we’re sure the businesses and residents of Provo already have some good ideas for what they’d build with a gig,” the blog posting added.
Earlier this month, Google announced that it would expand Google Fiber to Austin, Texas. Should that plan come to fruition, homes in Austin will be connected to the network by mid-2014. “We believe the Internet’s next chapter will be built on gigabit speeds,” Google wrote in a blog posting at the time, “and we hope this new Google Fiber city will inspire communities across America to think about what ultrafast connectivity could mean for them.”
In March, Google announced that Olathe, Kansas would be the next recipient of its high-speed broadband network, after neighboring Kansas City. (The fact that Google refers to Provo as its “third Google Fiber city” suggests that the company groups Kansas City and Olathe together as a single project.)
Google remains opaque about where it intends to spread Google Fiber next, but it’s clear that the initiative is freaking out carriers and other infrastructure providers: Within hours of Google announcing Google Fiber in Austin, AT&T released a statement indicating that it was willing to build a high-speed broadband network in the city, too. If nothing else, if Google Fiber keeps expanding, it could persuade others to boost their broadband service and offer it on reasonable terms.