US search engine giant Google Inc has announced that it will take over troubled municipal fibre-optic system iProvo, and make Provo, Utah, the third city to receive its 1Gbps network, after Kansas City and Austin, Texas. The Provo deal represents the first time that Google has acquired an existing fibre-optic system. The city, home to around 115,000 people, started work on the iProvo network in 2004, but found the operation too daunting and turned it over to a succession of private partners that have also struggled to break even. Kevin Lo, general manager of Google Fiber, commented: ‘Once connected, Provo will be one of the first cities in the world where access to broadband will flow like water or electricity’. The iProvo network is currently only connected to around 9,000 of the city’s 35,000 homes, and Google has said that it will finish the work and upgrade the system to handle more traffic at higher speeds. Although Google has not provided any figures of its own, Val Hale, president of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce, estimates that it will cost at least USD18 million to build out the remainder of the network.
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