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Amelia Nielson-Stowell: Lehi makes pitch for Google Fiber

Published: Sunday, Feb. 28 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

LEHI — Lehi is the 12th Utah community to make a pitch for Google's new high-speed broadband network.

The Utah County city wants in on Google's trial fiber Web system that company officials say will "deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today."

Google Fiber for Communities was announced earlier this month. Google is calling for municipalities to submit their information for a fiber optic trial.

Such a high-speed network would deliver speeds of 1 gigabyte per second — attractive to businesses and residents.

Already, leaders of the 11 cities that make up UTOPIA (Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency) have thrown their hats into the ring.

Lehi officials tout their city as the "high-tech capital" of Utah, with IM Flash already in the city, and Microsoft and NSA Data Center offices on their way.

"We want the opportunity to put fiber throughout the city, period," said Doug Meldrum, Lehi's economic development director. "This is an opportunity we've been looking for for quite some time. We've looked at UTOPIA, we've looked at a few other providers, and no one has a plan or model we've felt comfortable with."

Meldrum points to Lehi's 210 miles of available 2-inch conduit, which covers about 70 percent of the city. The power poles the city owns could cover the other 30 percent, he said.

Few details have been released about the experimental program — a fact Meldrum finds exciting.

"You know what kind of a company Google is," he said. "That's what makes it exciting. It's a company with a good business model, a good plan, and you know they'll do it well."

— Amelia Nielson-Stowell

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