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Not Everyone is Excited About Google Fiber in Salt Lake City

Google Fiber

Salt Lake City officials were overjoyed at the news that Google Fiber is coming to the city, but not everyone shares their enthusiasm.

Pete Ashdown is the president and founder of XMission, a local internet service provider based in Salt Lake City. Even though it’s a competitor, he says Google Fiber coming to Salt Lake is a good thing, but only in the short term.

“Internet infrastructure is so important to our economy and our society today that we shouldn’t depend on a single entity to own it,” he says.

Instead, Ashdown thinks cities could better serve their people by creating their own fiber networks that are open to everyone. He says this is possible, because fiber lines are capable of having thousands of providers on a single strand.

“So we really don’t need individual providers stringing cables and lines and cluttering our skyline with all their own infrastructures," he says. "We could have one infrastructure that serves them all.”

Ashdown says he’s also worried that Google will just turn into another monopoly, and people will have to stay with them if they want high-speed internet, even if their service degrades.

But Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker disagrees.

“Well we’re not stuck with one provider," Becker says. "The other providers are here and if you were to talk to Comcast or CenturyLink or the other providers they will tell you we welcome the competition.”

At the moment, only CenturyLink is working on laying fiber lines in Salt Lake City, but their coverage will only be a fraction of what Google will be doing once their network is complete. 

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