Yeah, I hadn't heard of Provo, Utah before today either. But get used to it, because Provo is going to be home to Google Fiber in the near future. Austin, Texas was announced earlier this month, and many of us weren't expecting to see a new city added to the list for a while, but we would have been wrong about that.
According to a bunch of facts I just looked up, Provo is about an hours drive south of Salt Lake City and is apparently the third largest city in Utah with a population of around 120,000. Provo is also home to Brigham Young University.
This upgrade is going to provide free basic broadband connections for every home in Provo, and residents will be able to purchase 1 Gbps speeds for an additional cost that has not been disclosed yet. This is partly because Provo already has a somewhat antiquated fiber optic network laid down. Although Google will have to upgrade it for faster speeds, presumably having an existing network will make implication faster and cheaper for Google fiber. Google is also planning to provide free 1 Gbps access for local libraries and public buildings.
The announcement was live-streamed today at 3.30pm EST. This is clearly a big deal for Provo and the excitement of the city officials making this announcement was inspiring. "I could not be more pleased to find a partner like Google Fiber" the mayor of Provo said near the beginning of the announcement The governer of Utah is a Provo native and he was also on hand for the announcement. Provo has been rehabilitating it's downtown area for the last decade and has been working hard to draw tech companies to it's metropolitan area.
The term the governor used was the "silicon slopes" which described as "just like the silicon valley but with better skiing." This is a big deal for a community that is working hard to improve the day to day lives of it's citizens. There is a lot to be said for neighbors getting together to find ways to use technology and innovation to make the world a better place. With all of the patent litigation and back-handed moves by Microsoft using FairSearch to file unfounded complaints against Google it is easy to forget that the tech industry is built on a foundation of sharing and community. The tech industry is meant to represent the best that mankind can offer to the next generation, and we congratulate Provo, Utah for taking one more step towards that goal today.