Provo doesn’t know where its fiber is, Google makes city spend $500,000 to find it.
On Tuesday, the Provo city council formally approved the transfer of its iProvo fiber network to Google, making the city the third metro area to gain that sweet, sweet gigabit service. Google is only paying $1 for the network, but in return it will have to provide a “basic 5-megabit” connection to all residents for seven years and provide free gigabit service to 25 public institutions.
As it turns out, though, it’s not such a good deal as it might seem. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Provo Mayor John Curtis also revealed Tuesday that the city now owes a total of an additional $1.7 million to keep those fiber-optic lights on.
The city must also pay “about $500,000 to a civil engineering firm to determine exactly where the fiber optic cables are buried, a requirement by Google,” the Tribune reported. “Curtis admitted that the construction company that installed the fiber cables underground did not keep records of where they buried all of them.”
One part of this story in particular grabbed my attention because of Google’s recently announced plans to bring fiber to Austin:
As we reported previously, Provo taxpayers are still on the hook to pay off the city’s $39 million bond that was used to fund the network’s construction—the city still collectively owes $3.3 million in payments in the next 12 years.
If Google wants to be an honest business and make an investment in fiber infrastructure here in Austin, followed by charging people money to use it, great! But if they’re expecting the city government to steal money to pay them to do business here, then thanks but no thanks.