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Millcreek Journal

Google Fiber comes to Millcreek

Feb 03, 2022 03:38PM ● By Bridget Raymundo

Google Fiber logo displayed on sign in Center Street, Provo. (Illustration by Preston Crawley)

By Bridget Raymundo | [email protected]

With the start of January, a revision of the goals and plans set out for last year are now under revision for the progress expected from Millcreek City Council this year. One of these goals is the continuing expansion of Google Fiber in Utah or more specifically, in Millcreek.

In fall 2020, the license to introduce Google Fiber into Millcreek was signed which led to the first of Millcreek residents being serviced in November. The completion of the installation for this project is at about the halfway point having laid down fiber under right of way roads. 

Completion is expected by July 2022 and following is the probable lag of full connection to individual home services. This will last approximately several months in order to get the door hangers ready, the road crews set, and to get customers connected through sign-up eligibility. All residents with construction in front of their homes will have Google Fiber services by this fall if all goes according to plan, meaning no major unpredicted setbacks occur. 

The full network will be made in less than a year for the whole of Millcreek City, an incredible accomplishment as stated by Jacob Brace, the Government and Community Affairs Manager on the expansion of Google Fiber in Utah. He has noted his experience on this project with public works has involved plenty of cooperation and coordination on both parts.

Through the winter season, it was difficult to handle the leftover snowfall for the safety of pedestrians and for the snow plows to pass through construction for Google Fiber. Additionally, during the project, some calls were issued from the city on behalf of complaints from residents bothered by Google Fiber construction. Brace states those issues were resolved in a timely manner and his organization is still working closely with the city with regards to open communication in reaching resolutions. 

Brace said the Google Fiber construction crews have measured about 85% of the project is complete. There is also a map called the Google Project Areas map of construction available to the public which presents information given to the city engineer by way of permitting request and is not a forecast on the construction. On the map, yellow areas signify a hold on permits for a variety of possible reasons, yet the permit is already on request to the city. Some areas on the map which are void of color means there is a moratorium due to weather. The areas void of color will still receive the services of Google Fiber in due time. Red areas on the map means a lot of construction activity is happening there, but the work there is not done.

Brace said the west side of Millcreek is also getting well connected which is important to the Millcreek Promise aiming to provide digital equity and accessibility. The Millcreek Promise joined the efforts of South Salt Lake to give public access to the internet through resources such as hardware equipment and Google Fiber.

As of now, the Google Fiber construction must complete 220,000 linear feet of installations. On estimate, one construction crew can cover 2,400 linear feet cut in a day during winter or imperfect weather. Three crews are issued regularly through the winter season, and in the summer season or during good weather double the amount of construction crews are present. 

“[The construction team] will go as fast as they can,” Brace said. “Within the limits of the public works and all our permitting.”

Major obstacles facing the Google Fiber project in Millcreek are snowfall and making sure to work ahead of city projects on the road. Spring and summer bring lots of road projects so Google Fiber focuses on getting to those locations beforehand since those roads cannot be cut once they have been worked on by the city. Only a total of six utility strikes have occurred up to now and the majority are damaged sprinkler lines which are fixed on the same day or as soon as possible if the weather is not favorable.

Temporary repairs for these utility strikes are common, especially in winter and unfavorable weather conditions can cause asphalt work to be delayed. Another crew will be back to follow up on the issue like sprinkler malfunctions. They will surround the strike with barricades and include a phone number to call with further questions on the door hangers of residents affected. 

While Silvestrini said some people aren’t happy with changes, there are many Millcreek residents who “contact us all the time to thank us for the fact that Google Fiber is now available to them. I just want to thank you, Jacob, for your cooperation with the city and I think it’s been a decent relationship.”

Two prior email notifications have been sent to existing customers of Google Fiber to let them know of the right of way licensing fee. The automated service did not identify Millcreek addresses well enough because Millcreek is a relatively new city and its boundaries have some shared zip codes. Google Fiber has third party vendors scrubbing for quality assurance to properly designate Millcreek rather than Salt Lake City. Brace said proper remittance will happen, and the Millcreek communications team is working with Google to correct false statements of the change in fee.

Google Fiber services are $70 per GIG (since 2012) and two gigs for $100. A 2% fee is passed on as result of being in the right of way of Millcreek City roads which equates to $1.40 for a gigabit and $2 for the two GIG price. The 2% fee will be for new customers joining in February.

For homeowners associations that want Google Fiber construction in their communities, call 833-942-0105.