Google Fiber in Provo, Utah, Comes with Strings: $2.9 Million

Before Provo gets Google Fiber, it's gotta pay up.

by / April 25, 2013

For Provo, Utah, what may have seemed like winning the Google golden ticket -- being awarded a high-speed fiber network from the search giant -- is not quite what it seems, as the deal comes with strings: shelling out an additional $2.9 million.

On April 17, Provo joined the ranks of Kansas City, Kan. and Mo., and Austin, Texas, to receive Google’s ultra-fast network. And earlier this week, the Provo City Council officially approved the transfer of its existing fiber network, iProvo, to Google, which is only paying $1 for the network. As such, the company will need to roll out “basic 5-megabit” connection speeds to all city residents for seven years and provide free gigabit service to 25 of the city’s institutions. 

But according to Ars Technica, the city has additional fees to pay to make the Google fiber project happen. Provo is now required to pay $1.7 million to keep the fiber-optic lights on, and about $500,000 to pay a civil engineering firm to determine where the fiber-optic cables are buried in the ground. According to city officials, the construction company that originally built the network did not keep records of the fiber's location, and a private provider that owned the network for a few years may have moved cables as well.

Provo is also on the hook for more than $700,000 worth of upgrades to existing infrastructure to be compatible with Google's fiber setup (this includes traffic lights and police and fire communications, to name a few). Provo Deputy Mayor Corey Norman told Ars Technica that an existing city telecom fund should be adequate to cover the additional expenses.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

April 26, 2013: This article has been udpated to reflect new information from the City of Provo.