UTOPIA Joins the Exclusive 1Gbps Club

Today UTOPIA announced that they will be offering 1Gbps connections to every home they pass. Word on the street is that getting a connection that’s faster than your hard drive (!) should run in the neighborhood of $330-ish per month if you’re leasing the connection. Right now, only a handful of providers in the country offer such blistering speeds to residential customers.

Some other fun facts from the media day:

  • UTOPIA’s highest bandwidth customer consumes 20Gbps worth.
  • Centerville is completely built out. If you live in Centerville, you can get service right now. About 500 residents have already chosen to do so, just over 10% of total households.
  • Homes with multiple set-top boxes will have the greatest need for 1Gbps connections. Currently, 4-5 of them can saturate a 100Mbps connection.
  • You could, in theory, get 10Gbps at your home, but UTOPIA isn’t all that comfortable leaving $10K worth of electronics sitting in your house.

You can check out pictures of the event on Google+ or Facebook.

Here’s UTOPIA’s full press release:

The Fastest Internet Connection in Utah Has Arrived

 

UTOPIA becomes the first in Utah to offer a 1-gig residential connection – ultrahigh speeds will make current technologies work in the blink of an eye and future applications not yet dreamed of possible

 

Salt Lake City (June 12, 2012) – Today, UTOPIA, the open-access fiber-optic network formed by a group of Utah cities to provide critical advanced communications infrastructure to their residents, launches its fastest Internet option for residents yet – a blazing-fast 1 gigabit-per-second speed, which is equal to 1,000 megabits per second and is about 200 times faster than the typical broadband connection of 5 megabits per second.

“Today’s economy relies more and more on the information superhighway,” says Todd Marriott, Executive Director of UTOPIA. “If Utahns are to compete in this age when technology is constantly changing, they need access to broadband connections that provide reliable and fast speeds and our newest service offers just that – 1 gigabit per second.”

This type of speed is possible because fiber optics uses light to transfer information while older systems use copper wire or coaxial cable, which limit the speed and amount of information that can be transferred. And with a UTOPIA connection, network subscribers have their very own strand of fiber optics connected directly to their home or business, so they don’t share their bandwidth with anyone and thus don’t see speed reductions when the network experiences extremely high volumes of use.

UTOPIA will be the first in Utah to offer the ultrahigh-speed gigabit connection to residents and joins only a handful of communities nationwide doing so, including Chattanooga and Morristown, Tenn., Lafayette, La., and Sebastopol, Calif.

“I’m not surprised that Utah is at the forefront of implementing this type of ultrahigh-speed broadband network,” says Kane Loader, UTOPIA’s Chairman of the Board and Midvale’s City Manager. “Our state is constantly being recognized as being the best in the nation for many reasons, from being the most business friendly to being the most inventive, and I’m confident that if we harness that ingenuity and our pioneering spirit, we will also be amongst the leaders in developing the next generation of technologies and applications that this type of speed makes possible.”

Ultrahigh-speed broadband connections are fast becoming the standard for Internet communications such as email and social media, as well as phone calls, television and much, much more. UTOPIA’s gig will make everything done on the Internet today even faster like web-conferencing more clearly with business associates, Skyping with family and friends, uploading and downloading photos, music and video in the blink of an eye or working from home seamlessly with greater telecommuting and data transfer capabilities.

“UTOPIA’s gig offering is fast, there’s no doubt about that,” says Marriott. “But it’s not just about the speed. It’s about what we can do with it and the slices of connectivity it provides. It’s about the potential for the future that fiber-to-the-premises offers to our communities. With this connectivity, UTOPIA’s member cities can promote economic development for their businesses, enhance quality of life for their residents and encourage the expansion of bandwidth-intensive applications in new industries and the traditional as well, like education, healthcare and municipal.”

Two service providers currently supplying communications products over the UTOPIA network, XMission and Veracity Networks, will offer the 1 gigabit-per-second connection. Prices per month will be $299.

The majority of UTOPIA’s service providers already offers a minimum of 25 mbps download and upload capabilities and the speeds available over the UTOPIA network begin where most of the traditional cable and telephone providers leave off. While it’s possible to get faster speeds than 25 mbps from these companies in some parts of the state, customers will pay significantly higher prices and will typically not get the advertised download and upload speeds they are paying for because of shared connections.

As the network continues to grow, UTOPIA will invite additional service providers to join that can offer unique services that will meet the needs of the ever-changing information age in which we live.

“While at first our new speed connection will likely appeal mainly to certain segments of the residential market,” says Marriott, “It will also eventually enable an entirely new realm of applications and technologies we can’t even imagine today—and won’t be able to live without tomorrow.”

# # #

 

About UTOPIA

The Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency, more commonly known as UTOPIA, consists of a group of Utah cities that joined together to form a state-of-the-art fiber-optic network and provide critical advanced communications infrastructure to their residents. The network offers fiber-to-the-premises technology allowing for faster services that are uninterrupted by copper wiring or shared connections with neighbors. Its open access model fosters competition among private sector service providers who offer Internet, television, telephone and other services, giving customers the freedom to choose their own service providers, the best prices and the best service.

For more information on UTOPIA including member cities and business and residential service providers, visit www.utopianet.org.

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23 Responses to UTOPIA Joins the Exclusive 1Gbps Club

  1. Rich says:

    These are the speeds Google is promising to roll out in Kansas city soon with their 1Gbps FTTH. At @$300/month this is well outside my price range. I would just be happy if XMission would hook me up with an IPv6 address at this point!

  2. Ronald D. Hunt says:

    Waiting for access here in Layton ATM, I have seen the fiber crews and conduit crews out and about so hopefully its not far off.

  3. Rich says:

    http://www.utopianet.org/blogs/general/1-gig-connection

    Finally got a solid answer to my Utopia IPv6 availability question!

    XMission is currently the only Utopia provider planning to roll out IPv6 addresses starting next month!

  4. Jima says:

    Rich,

    Nice to know I’m not the only potential Utopia user interested in IPv6.

  5. Alex G says:

    I wish UTOPIA would finish/start on providing fiber in their biggest backer West Valley City, believe it or not I am waiting since 2000 what a joke or is that normal speed of union labor?

    • Rich says:

      Unwarranted dig on the unions that have nothing to do with why you still don’t have FTTH. Try placing the blame where it belongs on the greedy incumbents like Quest/Comcast or now CenturyLink/Xfinity who have to rebrand themselves every couple of years. The guy who installed fiber into my home owns the business and several trucks and still rolls out the home fiber installs himself!

      • Alex G says:

        And how did greedy incumbents prevent utopia in my neighborhood? I went to WV city office got their contact to utopia called that contact and send several emails. I offered to go on my own time to offer their service in my subdivision and have a list with residents signatures/addresses who will pay for utopia and it is high income subdivision next to Jackling elementary not a trailer park. So what response do I get, none what so ever not even na thanks dude or some other excuse, we have retired community on that block, library, several businesses and a lot of high income residence I estimated about 200 households will sign up and all I have to do is 2 weeks of door knocking, no lets just cry about incumbents. Fed map shows they got fiber to 3500 S 4400 W to postal service its only .61 of a mile to my house they will probably hook jackling elementary, but wont move a finger what a crap business model if they have one. O yea and if you have an example of union(utopia) speedy work please share one.

        • Ronald D. Hunt says:

          Utopia doesn’t use union labor, They use the same private contractors as Comcast or Qwest/Centurylink(whatever the hell they call themselves atm). The CWA doesn’t have much of a presents in Utah, and they are not involved with Utopia.

          Utopia spent a considerable amount of time under a court order preventing the use of utility poles in Utah due to a lawsuit from Qwest, They where being used over use of Utility poles owned by a third party, QuestStar gas.

          Utopia also spent a considerable amount of time on a lawsuit over their legal right to exist and use tax payer backed bonds, this lawsuit also from Qwest.

        • Jordan R says:

          I’m just curious, but what comparable business has done as you’re asking Xmission to do, and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars extending their service over a half mile away from their boundary, to your neighborhood, simply because you’ve got signatures?
          Blaming Xmission for having a ‘crap business model’ when you have no idea of what’s involved to extend their range, is asinine. It’s entirely possible that Qwest/Comcast/whoever has some sort of contract for your neighborhood preventing other companies from coming in and offering competing services. Also, receiving some sort of response would’ve been nice, I agree :(, but they’re not the only company to lose/ignore messages petitioning for a broader service area.

          • Alex G says:

            For 12 years they can not hook up neighborhood only 3 mile away from west valle city hall and next to 3500 S corridor, what a bunch of bull, boundary my ass, that is exactly what comcast did when they came into this area they sent several crews of door to door salesman and in a less then a month covered most of this area with cable internet and slowly took phone customers from quest. What seems to be asinine is to sit on your but and cry for 12 years and ask for more city bond money, it would be so easy to build online form, give an estimate of cost to get fiber to you front dore and have people per-subscribe, then hit areas with higher income and saturation just like a normal business will do. You know what happens now nothing people fill it out and it goes into a big black hole, no email nothing unless you are a business then you get an email asking you to call what the hell I gave you all of my info why don’t you call me… anyway boys and girls this is not the way to run this thing with WVC residents money if they(utopia) want more money they need to change they do business in west valley.

          • Jesse says:

            That construction costs money that UTOPIA simply does not have. The UIA is the only way they can tap into additional construction funds, and that money is paid back by subscribers. If you have a better idea for how UTOPIA can find money to continue building the network, I’m all ears.

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  7. Alex G says:

    Look somehow they have money to hook up a less denser neighborhood (highbury) at 5600 W 2600 S and get a publicity how cool one dude now can possibly work from home, yes its a new construction and somehow it is much easier to slide this cost into new home owner, but lets completely ignore a 200 pre signed households that are willing to pay that cost and no work for utopia I was willing to go door to door and sign them up and explain/educate on what they will get and payment plans just like in Centerville where my friend just paid $3700 out right. And our place is only .2-.3 mile from where conduit already placed in the ground, that new highbury place is 2-3 miles away. So what do your ears say Jesse can we get a price from utopia and go door to door, or lets just sit and cry about incumbents, cost and service boundaries?

    • Jesse says:

      The money probably came from the developer. Hamlet Homes has spent a lot of money to extend the network into their subdivisions, even outside of UTOPIA cities, so it stands to reason that other developers would do the same. Maybe you should drop into UTOPIA’s office to see what the interest level is in your neighborhood and figure out what needs to be done to make deployment worthwhile. It’s entirely possible that you’re really close.

      Also, you’re insinuating that UTOPIA is sitting on some big mountain of cash and insidiously choosing which places get service. That’s total bunk, and you need to drop that attitude if you plan to get anywhere with either them or me. Most folks don’t want to work with people who talk trash like that.

      • Alex G says:

        Wow now that’s what I am talking about, I will definitely visit and see if anyone is willing to talk, thanks for this suggestion Jesse. And I am not insinuating anything I just stating facts I still remember west valley mayor promising utopia fiber by the end of 2000 before the bound got approved. Its now middle of 2012.

        • ibchuckd says:

          Oh boo-hoo, at least you’ll get it long before I ever will. I had iProvo when I lived there, but lost all hope of a fiber future when I moved to Ogden to attend school in 2007. The first thing I did when I got here was beg the Mayor to get UTOPIA. He just told me that it was a failed venture and wasn’t worth the expense. Of course, at the time he was still trying to get voter approval for some stupid gondola project he wanted going through the middle of town. Luckily that putz is no longer mayor, but we still aren’t getting UTOPIA and my coworkers living in Brigham City and Tremonton make sure to rub that in my face every chance they get. And if you think Comcast and Qwest aren’t taking advantage of this–you’d be sorely mistaken. When I contacted Comcast for prices here compared to prices in Provo they told me that since they have no competition in Ogden, I would have to pay more for less speed. I ended up going with a 7Mb DSL connection through Qwest just out of spite. But both Qwest and Comcast jack their prices every opportunity they get. I can’t wait for the housing market to improve enough to sell my place and move back to a fibered city. So quit your boobing or move to Ogden where someone can really feel sorry for you.

  8. Paul Larsen says:

    As a point of clarification, the original interlocal agreement that established UTOPIA was approved during the spring of 2002. The bond that funded the original UTOPIA construction was approved in 2004. I know that time gets fuzzy, and the point is that everyone has been waiting a long time for the network to get completed. There were a number of hurdles placed in our way that caused things to slow down considerably – immediate lawsuit from an incumbent provider, lack of action on pole attachments from the same service provider, legislation intended to make it impossible to finance construction (no cross-subsidy from non-network funds, limitations on the ability to backstop bonds, etc.), a federal agency that acted in bad faith, deadbeat service providers, etc. I think UTOPIA has learned a lot and is making progress, but the reality, as Jesse says, is that there is no pot of money to dip into to finance a large buildout. That approach with the first bond led to financial difficulties that UTOPIA has done a good job of mitigating. I live in Brigham City and have a connection at my home that I paid $2760 for (like your friend in Centerville.) I hope that doesn’t make you feel like the hungry guy standing on the sidewalk looking through the cafe window at the folks having a big meal. With some patience, and with some pressure, UTOPIA and West Valley City will get to you. Don’t give up hope, it really is worth the wait as my situation illustrates.

    Before my UTOPIA connection, I had dialup at my home. My advertised speeds were 56 kbps, but it actually clocked at about 12-24 kbps. I could have paid a lot of money and gotten DSL, which didn’t come to my neighborhood or most of Brigham City until after the City committed to UTOPIA, but I chose to wait. I now clock 20 Mbps down and 45-65 Mbps up (yes, up!) in speed tests at my home. (Please keep that quiet, because I’m only paying for 20 Mbps up.) I feel like I am in a dream world of bandwidth, and I don’t think I would want or need 1 Gbps, nor could I afford $300/month for my internet given my usage. However, my neighbor who runs servers out of his basement might very well be interested. Even now, after both incumbents invested in their networks following Brigham City’s commitment to UTOPIA, there is no one else in Brigham City who could provide him that capability. I don’t know if he will sign up for the service or not, but the fact that it is available, and in a town the size of Brigham City, is amazing.

    I agree with Jesse that a visit to UTOPIA to let them know your concerns and to see the network in action would be well worth your time.

  9. charlesH says:

    “Centerville is completely built out. If you live in Centerville, you can get service right now. About 500 residents have already chosen to do so, just over 10% of total households.”

    Can someone tell me why Centerville is built out and Orem is not?

  10. Paul Larsen says:

    I think the other answer is the UIA model which has allowed the bonding to occur in Centerville to build the network. I’m not sure Orem’s status in adopting the UIA approach, but as it gets perfected in places like Centerville and Layton, it will likely become the model for construction in other UTOPIA cities (unless the legislature sees that it is being successful and prohibits it.) I’m sure there are other factors involved, but I trust that UTOPIA is not simply ignoring communities.

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