CENTERVILLE -- UTOPIA member cities in the Top of Utah say the recent announcement that Provo will become the third Google Fiber city in the U.S. validates their investments in the broadband fiber-optic network the last 11 years.
"I think what this (announcement) does is silence the naysayers about fiber (optics)," said Centerville City Manager Steve Thacker.
Centerville, along with Layton, Brigham City, Perry and Tremonton, are part of a group of 11 Utah cities pledging financial support to UTOPIA, an ultra-high-speed fiber-optic system.
The cities, based on size, make an annual payment on $185 million in bond debt. The bond, set to be paid off in 27 years, pays for infrastructure for the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency.
The Provo City Council is expected to approve an agreement Tuesday to sell its $39 million fiber-optic system, known as iProvo, to Google Inc. for $1, according to The Associated Press.
Google Fiber's interest in Provo has UTOPIA member cities feeling vindicated.
Whenever the Centerville has held a public hearing on its UTOPIA operations, some citizens have raised concerns that the fiber-optic networks are outdated and rendered useless by wireless systems, Thacker said.
"If Google believes in it, they are the industry leaders here," he said.
The announcement that Google Fiber is coming to Provo doesn't excuse UTOPIA for the mistakes it has made in the past in financing its own infrastructure, Thacker said. But the vision is sound.
Layton City Mayor Steve Curtis agrees.
"I think it is good news," he said of Goggle Fiber/iProvo agreement. "It solidifies what we've been saying for years, that fiber optic is the wave of the future.
"iProvo was looking for other options, and this is a viable option."
Curtis added that Layton has no interest in selling its network infrastructure.
The fiber-optic network UTOPIA cities have put in place has the capacity to handle the information age and move it forward without impacting current subscribers, said Centerville Assistant City Manager Blaine Lutz.
Without any serious marketing efforts, through word of mouth, Lutz said, the city has been able to add new connections onto its system on a monthly basis.
"We maintain that broadband access ubiquity is a right and a necessity for our residents and businesses to succeed in the information age, and our member cities will continue their efforts to provide what private companies have been unwilling to until now," said Todd Marriott, UTOPIA executive director.
UTOPIA applauds Provo city for leveraging its public investment to obtain the resources necessary to achieve ubiquitous connectivity for its residents, who will continue to support the system's bond payments, UTOPIA officials said in a news release.
"Provo's residents will now be able to appreciate the same gigabit-capable broadband access UTOPIA customers have enjoyed since 2012."
Brigham City officials had no comment at this time.