Google Fiber to take on Comcast in Provo, Utah
The Internet giant announced a deal with Provo Mayor John Curtis to purchase iProvo, a municipal broadband network that the city launched in 2006. While the Provo City Council still must approve the deal, Google said that it agreed to upgrade iProvo to its 1-Gig fiber network. In addition, it will offer a free 5 Mbps Internet service to 115,000 residents in the city that pay a $30 activation fee.
If the deal closes, Google hopes to have the service available by late 2013, making Provo the second market to launch the Google Fiber broadband and pay TV service. Earlier this month Google announced that it will launch the service in Austin, Texas. However, the Austin market won't launch until mid-2014. Provo is also the first market where Google has announced plans to acquire an existing provider. It is overbuilding Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and AT&T (NYSE: T) in the Kansas City area and Austin.
Google Fiber GM Kevin Lo said that the Provo City Council will vote on the Google Fiber proposal April 23. "We intend to begin the network upgrades as soon as the closing conditions are satisfied and the deal is closed," Lo wrote in a blog post Wednesday.
Provo could be the first city where Comcast would face head-to-head competition from Google Fiber. While Comcast CEO Brian Roberts ran a demonstration of a 1-Gig Internet connection at The Cable Show convention in 2011, the fastest Internet product the MSO offers on cable systems that have upgraded to DOCSIS 3.0 plant is 105 Mbps.
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