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City Broadband in Provo UT and Beyond.

questionmarkYesterday I was spent a good portion of my afternoon meeting various members of the Google team assigned to Provo. Between them letting me play with their Google Pixel (one of them had solar panels built into his backpack to charge it) and discussions of static IP space, I reflected that Provo was in a fairly unique position.

We’re the first city in the world to have Google Fiber come in and offer to absorb and upgrade our municipal network. I had been hearing for years how there was no way a company like Google, or any other ISP for that matter would choose to take over the iProvo infrastructure.

So I asked them.

“We haven’t exactly been lobbying – I mean we didn’t even rename Provo to Google (which Topeka did) – why did you choose Provo?”

The answer was an interesting one.

They became interested in the network after the city issued a request for proposals on what to do with the network. The RFP wasn’t requiring anyone buy it, we just wanted to know what interesting options were out there.

Google was able to come up with some very interesting options.

They mentioned the importance of a community built around the idea of communication, and cited several examples of why Provo is an ideal option:

  • Provo has hundreds of startups and is a vibrant tech hub.
  • Provo is consistently ¬†ranked highly as an ideal location for businesses and a great place to live.
  • Provo has historically placed a huge value on connectivity and community.

And so, after roughly a year of discussion, we have their formal offer to connect Provo to Google Fiber. A key component of this offer involves providing a minimum 7 years free 5 megabit-per-second internet access to every resident.

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