Citywide Fiber-optic Ring To Aid Economic Development

Provo, UT City Council approves $39.5 million to build citywide fiber-optic system.
January 23, 2004, 10am PST | Abhijeet Chavan | @legalaidtech
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After five years of research and preparation, and an epic public meeting, Provo city council members voted 6-1 to approve financing and construction of a citywide fiber-optic network. The network, which would carry video, cable TV, internet, phone services and more, would be built by the city, which would then lease bandwidth to private companies to provide content. Residents in a test area received 139 cable channels and 5 Mbit downloads, for about half the cost of lower-quality service from the private provider Comcast. Bandwidth will also be reserved for traffic coordination, emergency services, and public schools. Some residents and leaders worried that the price tag, $39.5 million, would come out of taxpayers' pockets. However, only one third of residents need to sigh up for the service for the city to break even, and if more residents sign up, the extra revenue will go into the city's general fund. In a test of the system serving 250 homes, 50% of residents subscribed despite little advertising.

Thanks to Peter Christensen

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Published on Thursday, January 22, 2004 in Deseret News

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