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Utah cities land gigabit mega-deal

You might recall that last year, Provo became the third American municipality to land a prized partnership to become a “Google fiber city.” After the deal was announced, Google began to build a fiber optic network to bring ultra-fast broadband to the city about 250 miles north of St. George.

Recently, 11 more Utah cities announced a deal to build gigabit networks. They won’t be working with Google, however, but rather with an Australian infrastructure firm. The agreement could well spur further growth in business in those cities in the Great Salt Lake area.

The agreement calls for the fiber network to reach 150,000 residences and all businesses in the participating cities, including Orem, Layton, Brigham City and others.

The municipalities are part of the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA).

Some observers say the package UTOPIA agreed to with Australia’s Macquarie Capital is even better than Provo’s pact with Google.

Google is reportedly investing $18.7 million in a five-year deal to bring fiber optic access to 35,000 Provo premises. That breaks down to a cost of about $500 each.

On the other hand, the Macquarie arrangement is for 30 years, with the company agreeing to an investment of approximately $2,000 per property. At the end of the 30 years, the infrastructure belongs to the member cities.

Some media reports suggest Macquarie might be open to expanding to other cities, though there was no word on whether St. George is under consideration.

While high-speed internet is sure to be a lure to some tech companies, other entrepreneurs are focused on other aspects of community needs and wants that a business might address.

For those considering starting a business, one of the first prudent steps is to forge a relationship with a business attorney who can not only assist with business formation, but with a variety of legal needs that arise as a company matures. 

Source: gigaom.com, "Utah cities score broadband deal that rivals Kansas City and Google," Craig Settles, Feb. 17, 2014

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