If Kansas City is any model, we know that it will put us on the map once again as the ideal place for great employees and innovators. —Val Hale, Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce
Provo Mayor John Curtis announced at a press conference Wednesday that Provo had reached an agreement to bring Google Fiber, an experimental broadbant Internet network infrastructure using fiber optic communication, to the city.
"This is, as they say, 'big news,'" Curtis wrote on his blog after the announcement. "It allows us to finally implement a viable solution to the city's ongoing iProvo troubles, a personal goal of mine since taking office. But it's much bigger than that. This agreement, if ultimately approved by City Council, means Provo will be one of the first cities in the world to have universal Internal connectivity in nearly every home."
If the deal is approved, Google Fiber will offer free Internet service for those currently on the existing iProvo network, Curtis said. There will be a one-time $30 activation fee, "but that's it," he said.
To date, Google Fiber is found in Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Mo. It has also been announced for Austin, Texas.
According to the Google Fiber website, Google Fiber is 100 times faster than today's average Internet. Cities interested in the service were asked to apply, and the company received applications from more than 1,100 communities in just a few weeks, Google said.
In a statement released after the Google Fiber announcement, Val Hale, President of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce, said a quick "back of the envelope" estimate put Google's anticipated investment in Provo's network at $18 million, while savings for residents could reach $50 million of real value.
"None of this, of course, even begins to take into account the value to businesses and entrepreneurs of being one of the first communities in the United States with this super fast connectivity," Hale said. "If Kansas City is any model, we know that it will put us on the map once again as the ideal place for great employees and innovators."
Prior to the announcement, citizens took to Twitter to share their guesses and speculation over what it might entail, and the Twitter hashtag #provoepicannouncement was born.
Curtis shared a couple of his favorites on his blog, listing:
The winning design for the new Provo flag
Airline service to LA and Las Vegas
Finishing the "B" and the "U" on the Y Mountain
Other suggestions for the possible "epic" announcement included a 75-foot statue of Sen. Orrin Hatch, a bubble dome to be dropped on the city with plans for a real-life Truman show or the merging of Provo and Orem into one large city named "Prorem."