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Residents receptive to Google's plans for iProvo

Published April 18, 2013 10:43 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Provo • Many of those attending the first public meeting Thursday on Google Fiber's arrival in Provo gave the plan a +1.

The thought of Google taking over the troubled iProvo network was appealing to those attending the meeting at Edgemont Elementary School, the first of several before Tuesday's vote on the proposal.

"[Google] has proven itself to be a great company," said resident Ken Richardson.

Mayor John Curtis announced Wednesday that Google would take over the network and upgrade its technology so residents could purchase 1-gigabit Internet speed. The deal also calls for Google to connect the 20,000 remaining households to the network and offer every home in the city a minimum of 5 megabits of download speed and 1 megabit on upload for at least seven years.

But Curtis noted at Thursday's meeting that there were a few caveats. Only homes near existing fiber lines would be connected to the network for free by Google, and the "free" Internet service would require a one-time $30 connection fee.

And city residents would still have to make the monthly $5.35 payment to retire iProvo's $39 million bond.

But Curtis told the more than 70 people at the meeting that it was still a good deal for residents. It relieves the city of the cost of maintaining the network.

"[Google] told us, 'If we start this process, and we don't finish, we will give you back a working network,' " Curtis said.

But Curtis is confident that Google will succeed where the city, Broadweave Networks and Veracity Networks failed. He said Google is committed to making it work.

There were still some concerns, given iProvo's troubled past.

"It sounds almost too good to be true," said Sharon Memmott, who hopes that it will work.

But others are looking forward to Google rolling out its service, including ultra-high-speed Internet.

Richardson said he will probably sign up for the gigabit service when it becomes available.

Provo is the third city where Google is offering Google Fiber. But unlike Kansas City or Austin, Texas, Provo has the advantage of having an existing fiber-optic network in place, said Matt Dunne, Google's community affairs director.

dmeyers@sltrib.com

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