CenturyLink's fiber-optic network, which Walters said has been under construction for awhile, will be available to about 2,500 businesses in Salt Lake County, including Salt Lake City, Sandy, Midvale, Draper, South Jordan, West Jordan, and Cottonwood Heights. The service is now available for over half of those customers, with the rest scheduled to receive it over the next few months, Walters said.
The high-speed access will, as yet, not be made available to residential users.
The gigabit service means that business customers will be able to get Internet speeds up to 1,000 megabits per second for both downloads and uploads. The higher speed is particularly useful for businesses that transfer big data files back and forth or stream multiple videos simultaneously. Pricing has not been announced yet but there will be bundles available that include the Internet connection with some business-class add-ons such as cloud-based services.
"The availability, quality, and competitiveness of broadband services are critical pieces of infrastructure for attracting new businesses to Salt Lake City," Jeff Edwards, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah, said in a statement. "Businesses need more bandwidth and faster connections to harness cloud applications that are becoming workplace necessities, and access to fast Internet speeds will help Salt Lake City provide new job opportunities and attract new capital investment."
Walters would not say if or when a similar one gigabit service might be offered for residents. Currently, CenturyLink offers a DSL Internet service through telephone lines that is much slower and ranges from about 1.5 to 40 megabits-per-second download speeds.
"We're always evaluating and always looking at our network," he said. "We're looking at our network every day to upgrade it to give customers the speeds they want."
Last month, Google began signing up customers in Provo for its Google Fiber service, which offers one-gigabit Internet speeds. That service is only available for residents currently.
Meanwhile, UTOPIA is a similar fiber-optic service available in 11 cities along northern Utah. That network is being considered by an Australian investment firm, Macquarie Capital, for a private-public partnership where Macquarie would invest in and operate UTOPIA.