Google Fiber opened up the service spigot in Provo, Utah, on Wednesday, announcing that “several thousand” residents there that are already connected to the original iProvo/Veracity Networks plant can start to sign up for Google Fiber's blend of 1 Gbps and pay-TV services.
Sign-ups for the rest of Provo will open in January, Google Fiber director of fiber business operations Michael Slinger noted today in this blog post. Google Fiber and the city of Provo recently hinted that the new service would get underway sometime in October in the form of a video that pokes fun at incumbent “broadband” offerings.
Slinger noted that the sign-up process will be different and faster in Provo than it’s been in Kansas City so far, will be in Austin, when Google Fiber starts to connect customers there by mid-2014. That’s because Google Fiber is starting off by delivering services on recently upgraded plant rather than starting from scratch.
“In KC and Austin, we need to install thousands of miles of brand new fiber-optic cables, which requires many months of planning, engineering and construction before we can open sign-ups and bring service to customers. Here in Provo, we purchased the iProvo network from the City of Provo, so a lot of this network already exists — we just needed to upgrade it to make it faster,” he wrote.
Veracity customers get “the first crack” at Google Fiber because they’re already connected to the upgraded network, Slinger added. Like its Kansas City offering, Google Fiber will sell 1 Gbps broadband for $70 a month, or a 1-Gig/pay-TV combo that starts at $120 per month and requires a two-year contract. Google Fiber’s also offering a 5 Mbps (downstream) service for free in exchange for a $30 construction fee.
Prospective customers have until October 31 to get on board with the early sign up phase, and it could take longer for apartment buildings to join the mix because the wiring process takes longer and Google Fiber still needs to work that out with landlords and property owners.
Google paid $1 to consummate its acquisition of iProvo alongside promises that it would pay to upgrade the existing plant, finish the buildout, and offer the free 5-Meg service. The city still carries the iProvo debt.
The anticipated launch of Google Fiber has already begun to draw competitive responses from incumbent ISPs. Comcast is preparing to boot up a DOCSIS 3.0 tier there that will deliver up to 250 Mbps downstream by 50 Mbps upstream for $80 per month, and is expected to introduce new triple- and double-play packages. Google Fiber will also face off against CenturyLink in Provo.