Google to buy $39m Provo fiber service for $1

If the deal between Provo and Google doesn't work out, the tech giant can sell the network back for a dollar.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Recently, the latest destination for Google Fiber was confirmed to be Provo, Utah, but rather than building the system from scratch, the tech giant would buy out the city's own network.

iProvo will be bought out by Google pending a vote by the Provo City Council on April 23, but the financial details were not disclosed at the time of the original report. However, according to the Associated Press, Google will buy the existing network -- which cost $39 million to build -- for only $1.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based firm is taking an unusual step in its roadmap by buying an existing fiber-optic network, but it's not difficult to see why. Under the terms of the deal, Google will complete the network's construction and upgrade the system so it offers Provo residents gigabit connections, which are touted to be 100 times faster than current broadband speeds. The city will have to pay remaining loans resultant of the $39 million build, but if Google decides the merger isn't working out, the firm has a get-out clause -- it can sell the network back to the city for the same symbolic dollar.

Provo is approximately 45 miles south of Salt Lake City, and has a population of 115,000 residents. If the deal is voted in, then the city will be the third extension of Google Fiber's city roadmap. At the moment, according to the publication, Provo residents have been paying a little over $5 a month for their Internet, television and phone services. However, if residents agree to sign up to a $30 connection fee, then they will receive basic Internet services at no charge.

Google has five years to complete Provo's fiber network. In a blog post Wednesday, Google Fiber general manager Kevin Lo explained why Provo is of interest to the firm:

"Utah is already home to hundreds of tech companies and startups, and many of them are based in Provo. In fact, the Provo area ranks second in the nation in patent growth, and is consistently ranked as one of the top places to live and do business in the U.S."

The high-speed Internet service will join fiber networks expanding across the U.S. Last month, Google announced that residents in Olathe, Kansas, would join those waiting in Westwood, Westwood Hills and Mission Woods, Kan. that would have access to the network in the near future, although "a lot of planning and engineering work" is required first.

Google Fiber is currently available in Kansas City, KS, and Kansas City, MO, with Austin, Texas marked as the next city for the service to launch.

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