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CenturyLink fires up new fiber-optic network

Published February 6, 2014 10:51 am

Tech • New high-speed service is only available to businesses for time being.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

First UTOPIA, then Google Fiber. Now, a third telecom provider has launched a high-speed gigabit Internet network in Utah — CenturyLink.

The telecommunications company and main provider of landline telephone service in the state announced on Thursday it will launch a fiber-optic Internet service in Salt Lake County, limited to businesses in multi-tenant buildings.

"CenturyLink is dedicated to Salt Lake City and to the state," said Larry Walters, general manager for CenturyLink in Utah. "We're excited about this launch and to get busineses to grow and to attract more businesses. This is a great thing for all of us."

CenturyLink's fiber-optic network, which Walters said has been under construction for awhile, will be available to about 2,500 businesses in Salt Lake County, including Salt Lake City, Sandy, Midvale, Draper, South Jordan, West Jordan, and Cottonwood Heights. The service is now available for over half of those customers, with the rest scheduled to receive it over the next few months, Walters said.

The high-speed access will, as yet, not be made available to residential users.

The gigabit service means that business customers will be able to get Internet speeds up to 1,000 megabits per second for both downloads and uploads. The higher speed is particularly useful for businesses that transfer big data files back and forth or stream multiple videos simultaneously. Pricing has not been announced yet but there will be bundles available that include the Internet connection with some business-class add-ons such as cloud-based services.

"The availability, quality, and competitiveness of broadband services are critical pieces of infrastructure for attracting new businesses to Salt Lake City," Jeff Edwards, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah, said in a statement. "Businesses need more bandwidth and faster connections to harness cloud applications that are becoming workplace necessities, and access to fast Internet speeds will help Salt Lake City provide new job opportunities and attract new capital investment."

Walters would not say if or when a similar one gigabit service might be offered for residents. Currently, CenturyLink offers a DSL Internet service through telephone lines that is much slower and ranges from about 1.5 to 40 megabits-per-second download speeds.

"We're always evaluating and always looking at our network," he said. "We're looking at our network every day to upgrade it to give customers the speeds they want."

Last month, Google began signing up customers in Provo for its Google Fiber service, which offers one-gigabit Internet speeds. That service is only available for residents currently.

Meanwhile, UTOPIA is a similar fiber-optic service available in 11 cities along northern Utah. That network is being considered by an Australian investment firm, Macquarie Capital, for a private-public partnership where Macquarie would invest in and operate UTOPIA.

vince@sltrib.com

Twitter: @ohmytech