Yes, I’ve been very quiet around here for the last few weeks despite some news happening regarding UTOPIA. The short version is that I spent two weeks in Boston getting hand surgery for my infant son plus a considerable amount of time getting prepped for that trip. (On a side note, Southwest rocks for still allowing two checked bags at no extra charge.) As passionate as I am about broadband policy, family pretty much trumps it all. So now I’m digging through about a month of e-mail, getting back in the habit of reading my feeds (I had to declare Google Reader bankruptcy, so I’m sure I’ve missed more than a few things), and getting back on my feet from being on the other side of the country. (If anyone wants to come mow my lawn, I won’t refuse.) This doesn’t mean I’ve been totally out-of-the-loop, just that I’m aware of the major happenings and not much else.
So UTOPIA picked up an award from the Broadband Properties Summit for getting things back on track. Good on them. This is positive recognition that management is getting the ship sailing in the right direction, even if there are treacherous seas still left to navigate. I’m not surprised that they had to ask the cities to float them some operating capital for a while, nor do I think any of them were caught unaware. The unexpected nature of the refinance two years ago I think had more effect on the cities’ anger than being asked for money. I’m also not surprised that, again, the UTA was spouting off the same nonsense they always do. It’s fatiguing to see them trotting out the same failed and rebutted arguments every single year, blind to any kind of reality of the situation.
I’d like to give a special shout out to Mayor Mike Winder of West Valley by showing some real leadership on UTOPIA. As part of the city council, he was consistent in voting against UTOPIA. Now he sees that the decision has been made, the financial commitments already made can’t be erased, and they need to make the best of the situation. No, UTOPIA is hardly in any kind of ideal situation. They can’t cover operating expenses right now, much less the bond payments. It kind of sucks for someone like me who’s such a big supporter. I think now is the time to ignore the commentary and just do the work. The people who hate UTOPIA will always hate UTOPIA and at this point, and nothing I say or do will change their minds. Heck, UTOPIA could deliver every pie-in-the-sky promise out there while making the cities run tax-free and someone (probably Howard Stephenson) would still find something to kvetch about. It’s not worth the effort to reason with or attempt to disprove people like that.
With the short runway for this month, I’m going to skip May’s podcast. If you’ve been sending me e-mail, I’ll get back to you soon. If you’ve noticed a lot of downtime with the site (and I have), I’m working on moving to another host because I just don’t have the time or will to manage a VPS setup anymore. I’m not going anywhere, nor am I giving up the fight. I just needed a break for a while.