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Curtis: Provo partnership with Google Fiber a plus
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

Layton congratulates Provo on the opportunity the Google Fiber partnership will bring to its residents and on them joining other cities in becoming a gigabit community. Provo's residents will be able to appreciate the benefits and advantages of gigabit-capable broadband.

We join Utah Gov. Gary Hebert and House Speaker Becky Lockhart in applauding Provo for having the foresight to bring this critical infrastructure to its citizens and make it flow like water and electricity.

The excitement surrounding this event validates in many ways the importance of fiber as essential infrastructure and the vision Layton and other cities began working toward 11 years ago with formation of the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency, or UTOPIA, which serves 11 member cities on the Wasatch Front.

The fact is that to remain competitively positioned in today's evolving economy, it is essential that we do a much better job of providing advanced communication networks.

The U.S. has fallen to 17th in the world in the deployment of high-speed broadband communications. If we don't change this, we will continue to be left behind as more technologically advanced countries move ahead in adapting to an evolving economy that relies more and more on the information superhighway.

Internet access is now as essential to everyday life as telephone and electricity were 100 years ago. As cities, our long-range planning is dependent upon business development that will provide sustainable jobs into the future. The businesses that will provide these jobs are highly dependent on high-speed broadband capabilities. The business community and our residents demand fast, affordable and widespread Internet access.

Our planning must include a blueprint for deploying this essential infrastructure that is already driving economic development in our cities.

While it is exciting that Google Fiber is bringing residents gig-capable Internet, we believe that as a city we are responsible to go beyond residential services and include businesses. Businesses choose to locate in our communities for the reliable and affordable gigabit-plus speeds we offer and they bring with them the employees and families that are spurring our economies.

Provo and Google Fiber's vision for the future of providing a gig-capable network is wholeheartedly shared by Layton and Utah's other gigabit cities.

We believe that a robust open-access fiber network is necessary infrastructure we must provide to our constituents because private companies have been unwilling to do so — until now. And to be clear, this opportunity would not have been possible without the public investment Provo put forth in its network, and will keep making as taxpayers continue to support bond payments.

Provo City's recent announcement has strengthened the resolve of cities like Layton to strive to bring this essential resource to our communities so our residents and our businesses can comfortably live and successfully compete in the information age.

Steve Curtis is mayor of Layton.

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