Government Technology

Google Fiber in Provo, Utah, Comes with Strings: $2.9 Million

April 25, 2013 By

For Provo, Utah, what may have seemed like winning the Google golden ticket -- being awarded a high-speed fiber network from the search giant -- is not quite what it seems, as the deal comes with strings: shelling out an additional $2.9 million.

On April 17, Provo joined the ranks of Kansas City, Kan. and Mo., and Austin, Texas, to receive Google’s ultra-fast network. And earlier this week, the Provo City Council officially approved the transfer of its existing fiber network, iProvo, to Google, which is only paying $1 for the network. As such, the company will need to roll out “basic 5-megabit” connection speeds to all city residents for seven years and provide free gigabit service to 25 of the city’s institutions. 

But according to Ars Technica, the city has additional fees to pay to make the Google fiber project happen. Provo is now required to pay $1.7 million to keep the fiber-optic lights on, and about $500,000 to pay a civil engineering firm to determine where the fiber-optic cables are buried in the ground. According to city officials, the construction company that originally built the network did not keep records of the fiber's location, and a private provider that owned the network for a few years may have moved cables as well.

Provo is also on the hook for more than $700,000 worth of upgrades to existing infrastructure to be compatible with Google's fiber setup (this includes traffic lights and police and fire communications, to name a few). Provo Deputy Mayor Corey Norman told Ars Technica that an existing city telecom fund should be adequate to cover the additional expenses.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

April 26, 2013: This article has been udpated to reflect new information from the City of Provo.

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youarewrong    |    Commented April 25, 2013

Ok so this article is totally misleading. You people need to get facts straight instead of relying on other information that is wrong too

Leslie Satenstein    |    Commented April 26, 2013

Would it have been cheaper to just allow new cables to be installed, and to allow a bridge to the existing infrastructure. And I never heard of a municipality that did not know where sewers, water pipes, electrical poles and other assets were located. How could a contractor dig, if he is not certain as to what is beneath his shovel?

Editor    |    Commented April 26, 2013

Thank you for the comment. This article has been updated to reflect new information from the City of Provo.

Person    |    Commented April 26, 2013

@ youarewrong - Would you like to provide sources citing the information you claim is faulty? @ Leslie - exactly what I was thinking. That's not a Google Fiber cost, that's a poor management cost.

youarewrong    |    Commented April 26, 2013

Yea sure here it is..

Larry Villanova    |    Commented April 26, 2013

There is a gigabit network that is being built in Lawrence, Kansas. This is the first time that a company other than Google Inc has deployed a gigabit fiber network using a process similar to the one pioneered by Google Fiber.

Crucifixion    |    Commented April 26, 2013

Yea don't forget this place too. my previous name was youarewrong.

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