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South Salt Lake Journal

Google Fiber is coming to SSL

Apr 19, 2021 11:02AM ● By Bill Hardesty

Google Fiber is coming to every SSL neighborhood. (Courtesy of PDPics from Pixabay)

By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]

At the Feb. 24 South Salt Lake City Council meeting, Mayor Cherie Wood announced the city has entered into an agreement to bring the Google Fiber network to the city.

The agreement allows Google Fiber to begin building its fiber-to-the-home network in South Salt Lake. It is anticipated that residents and businesses will be able to sign up for internet service this summer.

“Digital equity and inclusion are imperative for resident success. Working with Google Fiber creates new options for broadband access and connectivity in our community,” said Wood. “Google Fiber’s expansion into South Salt Lake will assist us in addressing the digital divide.”

The term digital divide is used to describe the gap between people who have ready access to computers and the internet and those who do not. This divide can affect access to online schooling, telephone reception, television quality and working from home.

City officials realize the digital divide is affecting many in SSL. The Digital Inclusion Committee was formed to tackle three issues: access to the internet, having an internet device, and digital literacy and IT support. Having Google Fiber across the city is one step to resolve the access issue.

“South Salt Lake and Mayor Wood recognize the opportunity that access to fast, reliable internet can make in a community,” said Jacob Brace, Google Fiber Government and Community Affairs manager in Utah. “Google Fiber is excited to be part of South Salt Lake’s goals of being a connected and innovative city.”

“It is often said that we are a small city with big opportunities. I am thrilled about our work with Google Fiber and the many opportunities it will afford residents and businesses,” Wood said.

Internet primer

In the computing world, the bit rate is the number of bits that are processed per unit of time. A bit is the smallest increment of data. It can either contain a 0 (off) or 1 (on). The bit rate is expressed in terms of bits per second (the symbol is bit/s). This symbol is used in conjunction with an SI prefix as kilo (kbits/s), mega (Mbit/s), giga (Gbits), or tera (Tbits/s).

Another measurement often used is a non-standard abbreviation of bps that replaces the standard symbol of bit/s. For example, 1 Mbps denotes one million bits per second.

See chart 1 for a comparison.

Besides the actual speed, another term to understand is broadband. The best way to describe it is to think of internet access as a freeway. The bits of data are cars zipping along. Broadband is the number of lanes. More cars can get through on a five-lane freeway than a two-lane freeway.

To allow wireless access, internet service providers (ISP) create a Wi-Fi in the home or business.

Understanding speed is essential when comparing different internet connection technologies. Currently, there are four ways to access the internet: DSL, satellite, cable, and fiber-optic.

Digital subscriber line (DSL) is one of the oldest internet technologies. It took over from dial-up (for you who are old enough to remember it). This technology used an existing telephone line to transfer data and connect to the internet. The DSL advantage is a continuous dedicated connection that is not affected by your neighbor’s usage. Because of different frequencies for phones and the internet, both can be used at the same time. CenturyLink provides this technology. DSL speeds can range from 10-20 Mbps, with some reaching up to 100 Mbps.

A satellite connection is self-explanatory. The internet is accessed through communication satellites. It is most prevalent in rural areas. Dish and HughesNet are typical providers. For satellites, the average uplink speed rate is 256 kbits/s, and the average download rate is 1 Mbit/s.

A cable connection transmits data via electricity. It uses coaxial cables to transmit data. Inside the coax cable is a copper wire insulated with aluminum, a copper shield, and an older plastic layer. The cable is more susceptible to weather events and electromagnetic interferences. Cable download speeds range from 10-500 Mbps with upload speeds of 5-50 Mbps. The rate can slow down during peak times.

Fiber-optic technology uses a small flexible strand of glass to transmit data as light. The strands are wrapped in a bundle and protected with layers of plastic, making fiber faster, more precise, and able to travel greater distances. The result is that fiber can carry more data than a bundle of copper cables of the same diameter. Fiber-optic speeds are ranging from 250-1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps). Many people can access the fiber network at the same time without affecting overall performance.

DSL and satellite are slower than either cable or fiber optic. Cable is getting faster. However, fiber optic is still the fastest. The critical item to keep in mind is with faster speeds comes increased cost.


The cost of Google Fiber in SSL is still not set. In Salt Lake City and Provo, the price for 1 Gig is $70/month. A 2 Gig plan costs $100. 

The Digital Inclusion Committee realizes that such costs could make it hard for middle to low-income residents to use Google Fiber. The committee is working on obtaining grants and donations that will be used to lower cost for these residents.

One size does not fit all

Google Fiber might sound exciting. However, it might not be the right choice for you. Depending on your activities, a slower speed might work for you. Use chart 2 to compare your actions and the rate that works for you. If you don’t need the speed, choosing a slower but cheaper option might make sense for you.

Chart 1



Bit per second

Byte per second

Bit per second




Byte per second




Kilobit per second




Kilobyte per second




Megabit per second




Megabyte per second




Gigabit per second




Gigabyte per second




Terabit per second




Terabyte per second