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Answers to a few questions about Google Fiber in Provo

Published: Saturday, Oct. 12 2013 2:20 p.m. MDT

After residential Veracity customers are taken care of, Google Fiber will be rolled out somewhat geographically through Provo neighborhoods. Eligible non-Veracity customers and Veracity customers who missed the October window can start signing up in January 2014.

Google Fiber will be available to most homes along the iProvo network, which is the majority of Provo residences. Eligibility can be determined by entering an address on the Google Fiber website.

According to Wandres, Google would like to extend the fiber network to reach everyone at some point but not as part of the beginning rounds of installations.

“Google really feels — and this is something unique to them and just a handful of other companies — that Internet is as essential as air and water and those essential things that you need for life," Norman said, "and so they feel access to information is just as important.”

Provo officials are reviewing applications for 25 nonprofit organizations to receive 1 gigabit Internet service, provided for free by Google as part of the Google Fiber Community Connections program.

What about multi-dwelling units?

Provo renters have differing opinions on Google Fiber. Internet service is usually anywhere between $30 and $70 a month for many student apartments for speeds around 10–18 Mbps.

For some renters, the Google Fiber service with 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload will feel slower. The service is free.

They’ll have the option to upgrade their service, which for many people will be comparable in price if they get the $70 1 gigabit connection. Many tenants will also still be able to choose a separate Internet provider such Comcast or CenturyLink.

According to Jeremiah Maughan, who manages almost 1,000 properties in Provo and has been working with Google representatives, most managers will put their units on Google Fiber even though it might upset some renters because they’ll be getting slower speeds if they don’t want to pay $70 a month.

“When we were used to that discounted pricing and our customers are all used to that discounted pricing, to find out that pricing was going to disappear was kind of jarring to a lot of the owners, the tenants and the managers,” Maughan said.

Google won’t be offering discounted rates for bulk buying, but it has worked with Provo in other ways, such as offering gigabit service without a contract to accommodate the student population that moves around a lot.

“We’ve spent a lot of time talking to them and let them know some of our concerns,” Maughan said. “And while they have zero intention of ever adjusting their packages as far as I’m aware … they’re at least willing to work with us on contracts and installations so that we can accommodate the different types of properties and tenants that we have here in Provo.”

The installation bill will be $30 per unit — much cheaper than the $300 fee in Kansas City, Kan., because Google hasn’t needed to build fiber in Provo.

“The Google reps have told us that the only reason they’re here is because Provo already has fiber,” Maughan said. “The fact that we have the infrastructure is a really big deal.”

The student population

“Internet is essential for college work, and we’re excited about it,” said Noelle Goodine, a sophomore at BYU.

Goodine is a resident at Alpine Village, the first apartment complex in Provo to get Google Fiber. She said her current Internet gets slow because so many devices are connected to their apartment’s Wi-Fi — often so slow that it impedes her productivity.

She said she’s looking forward to being able to do homework at home.

Google workers are doing preliminary construction and upgrading the current fiber in the basement, according to Alpine Village’s leasing consultant, David Doman. All tenants will have a basic 5 megabit connection and the option of purchasing a 1 gigabit connection.

Norman said Google Fiber is a technology upgrade invaluable to Provo. He said quality of life will increase, as well as students’ abilities to mature ideas off campus.

“That’s what technology does,” he said. “It shrinks the world to such a significant degree that it’s amazing and a huge benefit to the community.”

Email: madbrown@deseretnews.com

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