Although it was the third region to get announced as a Google Gigabit site, Provo, Utah, is now rocketing ahead of Austin, Texas, as the second place for Google Fiber to roll out its 1 Gbit/s service. (See Austin Gets Google's Next Fiber Gig.)
Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has announced that residential customers of Veracity Networks in Provo can sign up for service throughout October. The rest of Provo's residents will be eligible for Google Fiber starting in January. Austin is due to start getting service in mid-2014.
The high-speed Internet rollout is happening quickly in Provo because Google purchased the iProvo network from the municipality there and doesn't have to start from scratch laying fiber to subscriber homes. Existing Veracity customers are already hooked in to the network, which is why they get "first crack" at the new service.
The fact that fiber infrastructure is already in place also means the connection fee for subscribers drops to $30 from the $300 rate that Google Fiber Inc. offers in Kansas City. Aside from that initial cost, the Google Fiber service packages in Provo mirrors the Kansas City offerings. The company is offering free Internet service with speeds up to 5 Mbit/s downstream and 1 Mbit/s upstream, symmetrical gigabit service for $70 per month, and gigabit Internet plus TV service for $120 per month.
Meanwhile, the incumbent cable provider, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), is preparing for Google's arrival in Utah. According to an internal memo in August, the cable operator is now promoting its own 105 Mbit/s service bundled with either Xfinity Voice or Xfinity Home Secure for $120 per month. The deal requires a three-year contract, which would keep customers from leaving Comcast to sign up for Google Fiber. (See: Google Fiber, Comcast Prep for Battle.)
In addition, Comcast is reportedly offering a package with speeds of 250 Mbit/s downstream and 50 Mbit/s upstream in Provo for only $70 per month.
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading Cable