Provo Gives Google Fiber the Green Light

The Provo Municipal Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve a proposed sale of the troubled iProvo fiber network to Google, reports The Salt Lake City Tribune

Approval, coming way of a 7-0 vote, gets Google Fiber one step closer to bringing its bundle of broadband and IPTV services to the city and grappling with incumbent providers Comcast and CenturyLink.

Google Fiber spokeswoman Jenna Wandres said Wednesday that the deal won't technically be final until after the deal itself is closed. That won't happen until after Google gets an opportunity to complete other steps, including a survey to determine the condition of the existing fiber network. Google isn't guessing when the deal will be finalized, but the company hopes it will be wrapped up in time so it can begin installs in Provo by the end of the year.

Google and the city announced the proposed deal on April 17, with Google promising to upgrade the iProvo network for 1 Gbps speeds, complete network construction, offer a free 5 Mbps Internet service to all homes on the network for seven years, and to wire up 25 local public institutions such as schools, hospitals and libraries. In exchange for those investment and service commitments, Google Fiber has agreed to pay $1 to consummate the deal. 

It’s estimated that only about 9,000 of 35,000 homes are currently connected to the iProvo network. The city, which has been trying to find a buyer for about 18 months, has already spent roughly $39 million on its fiber network. The paper said Provo taxpayers are still on the hook to pay off the original $39 million bond, plus an additional $1.7 million for equipment to support existing government operations on the network, civil engineering fees and insurance.

Provo is poised to become the second market to launch Google Fiber services. Google’s already rolling out services in the Kansas City area, and is making plans to begin deployments in Austin, Texas, by mid-2014.