Google Almost Ready to Deploy Provo Fiber Network Earlier this year, Google Inc announced that it will acquire Provo, Utah’s existing high-speedfiber optic network. Google’s director of business operations for the fiber program, Micheal Slinger, says he expects the infrastructure to be deployable by the end of the calendar year. “We’re working to upgrade the existing fiber network in Provo to be Gigabit-ready .. by [December],” Slinger said in a release last week. Provo spent nearly $40 million developing the network in 2004, and began looking for buyers in late 2011. Google purchase the network, called iProvo, for $1, and as part of its agreement, will make significant upgrades to the scope and speed of its infrastructure. Existing users will be entitled to seven years of high-speed access, and dozens of municipal organizations, including hospitals, schools, and libraries will be eligible for free internet. The project, dubbed Google Fiber, is the third of its kind. Google implemented similar networks in Austin, Texas and Kansas City, Kansas as well. There continues to be a great deal of public speculation as to whether these city-wide experiments will grow into a national broadband initiative on Google’s part. Google did comment that Provo was the logical choice for Fiber because of Utah’s growing technology environment. In fact, the state was one of only two to add tech jobs each year during the recent recession, and the new high-speed network is being heralded as a boon for telecommunications firms, who expect the news coverage to further highlight their growing industry. While the no-cost service offered through Fiber will be competitive with national broadband speeds, Provo residents will also be able to pay for an ultra-quick connection which operates nearly 200 times faster. Provo’s fiber initiative marks a changing public attitude. An increasing number of people see internet access as a right rather than a luxury, and creating a reliable, free network in Provo will help quantify the cultural and economic benefits of a universal internet. The real question is how the gatekeepers, like Google, who control these networks, and ultimately the flow of information, will act if and when the technology becomes ubiquitous.