Google plans to set up gigabit-speed fiber in Provo, Utah

Google is acquiring a fiber-optic network owned by the city

Google is acquiring iProvo, a fiber-optic network owned by the city of Provo, Utah, as part of a plan to introduce its high-speed broadband network called Google Fiber there.

As part of the acquisition, Google will upgrade the network to gigabit technology and finish network construction so that every home along the existing iProvo network will have the opportunity to connect to Google Fiber, the company announced in a blog post on Wednesday.

Provo Mayor John Curtis on Wednesday announced an agreement with Google to give the city access to Google Fiber. Apart from purchasing iProvo, which was set up in 2004, Google has committed to offer free Internet service at 5Mbps speed to every home along the existing iProvo network for a US$30 activation fee and no monthly charge for at least seven years. Google is also committed to provide free Gigabit Internet service to 25 local public institutions including schools, hospitals and libraries.

The price Google is paying for iProvo was not disclosed. The city decided to sell the troubled network about 18 months ago, and approached Google to purchase it.

The agreement with Provo has to be approved by a vote by the city council scheduled for Tuesday. "We intend to begin the network upgrades as soon as the closing conditions are satisfied and the deal is closed," Kevin Lo, general manager of Google Fiber wrote in a blog post. The company expects to offer services in Provo from the end of this year.

Google said earlier this month that it would roll out Google Fiber in Austin, Texas, as part of its plan to build fiber networks in an unspecified number of cities in order to demonstrate what consumers and businesses can do with 1Gbps of Internet access. The service in Austin is planned for the middle of next year.

The Internet company said in February 2010 that it planned to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in some trial locations across the U.S., with 1Gbps fiber-to-the-home connections. It asked for responses to its request for information (RFI) from local governments and the public.(

It started to connect homes in Kansas City, Kansas, to the Google Fiber broadband service in November last year, with the promise that the installations at Kansas City, Missouri, would start in 2013. The two cities won out over 1,000 cities that applied for the 1Gbps service in 2010. In March, Google added Olathe in Kansas to the locations where it planned to roll out the network.

In Kansas, Gigabit Internet is priced by Google at $70 per month, while high-speed Internet bundled with TV costs $120 a month. Free Internet at up to 5Mbps downstream is available for a construction fee of $300. The proposed rates for all services in Austin and Provo have not been disclosed yet.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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