Google is bringing its gigabit, fiber-to-the-home network to Provo, Utah, a little over a week after it announced that it was taking its ISP dreams to Austin, Texas. The announcement was made by Provo Mayor John Curtis on Wednesday, and a local Provo site has a nice run down on why Provo is the next stop on the GooFi express.
Those reasons include an updated web site, attributes the city shares with Austin, such as universities, and the fact that Provo previously attempted to build a fiber to the home network as part of a public-private partnership called iProvo. The network experienced financial troubles and parts of it were later sold to Broadweave, a private company before ending up in the hands of Veracity Networks. Apparently, those network assets changed hands about a year ago and were purchased by the city. That means the city is working with Google to provide the underlying dark fiber.
The deal still awaits approval from the Provo City Council as well as more details from Google on the roll out, pricing and the deployment. Since Provo does have its own fiber network Google says it will provide its Free Internet service (5 Mbps speeds) to every home along the existing Provo network, for a $30 activation fee and no monthly charge for at least seven years. In Kansas City the service is provided for free with a $300 connection charge.
Google’s Kevin Lo says the first residents will get connected later this year.
Google’s announcement significant for a variety of reasons — not the least of which is that Google is planning to keep pushing its gigabit network to more places. It already is building a fiber to the home network in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Mo. But it also signifies the changing cost-benefit equation that municipalities and private companies are facing when it comes to fiber to the home networks.
More municipalities from North Carolina to Seattle are trying to entice gigabit networks to their areas using a combination of leasing existing city assets or tax breaks for newcomers. Companies like Google and Gigabit Squared are trying to take advantage of the willingness of city officials to deal and the underlying assets in those cities, but even companies like AT&T and Time Warner Cable are also starting to play ball.
The nature of network deployments are changing, and hopefully it will change the cost models to the point where more fiber to the home networks can become viable. However, it’s important to remember that private companies must act responsibly to their shareholders, while cities are accountable to their citizens. That’s a mix that might explode later on.
This story was updated at 2:28 PT to correct information about iProvo’s history.