The envious -- and perhaps curious -- eyes of business and technology leaders across the world were turned to Provo on Thursday, after the city was chosen from a nationwide competition for Google Fiber.
The attention now lavished on Provo is worth its weight in marketing gold, local officials said. The words "Provo, Utah" quickly began to appear in worldwide headlines after Google unveiled its surprise choice. An Internet search found more than 28,000 news site links to Wednesday's epic announcement. CNN carried the story in both its national and international editions. Highly-read and influential Internet sites lauded Provo's story, including Wired, MarketWatch, Forbes and Mashable, to name a few. The nation's major newspapers heralded the victory. The Los Angeles Times carried this headline: "Google looking to expand super-fast fiber service to Provo, Utah." And this in the Washington Post: "Google Fiber headed to Provo, Utah."
The attention in the 24 hours after the announcement already means good things for the local economy, said a gleeful Val Hale, president of the Provo Orem Chamber of Commerce, in an interview Thursday morning.
"The Utah Valley economy is thriving," he said. "The eyes of the world and the nation are upon us, and we continue to get these accolades, and they really do matter. These are exciting times in Utah Valley."
All of this attention is a significant windfall for the local economy.
"This is a positive light that will shine on Provo, and the perception of Provo as a good place to do business, a strong encouragement by Google to do business here, and it will carry a lot of weight for businesses looking to relocate in our valley," Hale said. Being just the third city selected for investment by Google "and one of the few cities in the world to have ubiquitous fiber connections means people everywhere are sitting up and taking notice of Provo and what is going on here."
At dinner on Wednesday evening, Hale said he bluntly asked Google leaders: Why Provo?
The answer: Because Provo kept popping up at the top of national lists, compiled by magazines and media, of both the top places to do business in the nation, and the top places to live in the nation.
"Provo is always at the top of those lists," Hale said. "People are paying attention to the things being said about this valley. This is a great opportunity for the valley and the city, and we need to keep things moving along."