UTOPIA Goes for Cheap Gigabit

Remember the rumblings about UTOPIA’s upcoming announcement last week? Well, it’s here, and its’ huge. Starting today, seven providers will be offering gigabit service for as low as $64.95/mo. If you’ve already paid off the connection fee, this makes it the same or less than Google Fiber in Provo on six of them. Here’s the full price list:

Of note is that UTOPIA has added another provider, WebWave. They’ve been using UTOPIA for backhaul to wireless towers in Davis County since May and are now going to be a full-fledged ISP on the network. With nine total providers to choose from, UTOPIA’s offering more competition for your business than ever.

If you’re content on the lower-priced tiers, SumoFiber and XMission have already switched all customers to 100Mbps. Are you planning to pony up a little more for 10x the speed? I know I would.

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20 Responses to UTOPIA Goes for Cheap Gigabit

  1. Travis says:

    This is awesome! (for the whole 4 houses in Layton that can get Utopia)

  2. Richard says:

    I so wish Utopia would provide more details about where they are expanding, specifically. That would provide those of us willing to advocate to rally around them. Only the FUDsters and Taxmongers seems to get the airwaves lately.

  3. Kristie says:

    Too bad us 100 megabit customers weren’t given the option to have a cheaper rate instead of a speed upgrade. :( I saw the news of a rate drop on KSL yet I’m still paying $35 a month.

    • Jesse says:

      Given the fixed costs of a customer, I doubt the service can get much cheaper without bleeding ISPs dry or sacrificing some quality along the way. $35 is probably as low as it can go for now.

  4. Mike says:

    Instead of cheap Gigabit I would rather see cheap video. I have no plans on upgrading from my 20 meg connection.

    • Jesse says:

      We all would, but video is usually being sold to you about as close to cost as it can be. The way that programmers dictate terms and bundles makes it hard to have much flexibility.

  5. Dan says:

    Gigabit to the home…awesome! I have a couple of questions.

    1) If I have never had Utopia at my home, do the above prices include the install or monthly fee for the infrastructure?

    2) Do all the providers have transfer limits or bandwidth caps? I would love to see one without.

    • Jesse says:

      1) No, they do not. The install is on top of this. While Provoans will crow about “not paying” for installation, they ignore that everyone is getting charged for it through the “utility fee”.

      2) Some do, but they’re usually soft caps or really, really high. XMission does 1TB, but they only enforce it if it causes a problem. The “enforcement” is usually calling you up to talk to you about it. Veracity only pings customers when it causes a network issue. An example is when someone was using HD security cameras that chewed up 8-10TB/mo.

      • Dan says:

        Thanks for the clarification on the costs and the bandwidth caps.

        So what is the differentiation between the ISP’s? Their pricing is all close, $65 – $85.
        Do some of them offer services that the others don’t?

        Do it come down to the reliability/availability of their network? Can Xmission provide me with better throughput than say InfoWest? How do I pick?

        • Jesse says:

          It’s really all about nuance. XMission has a highly technical staff and operates really transparently. (You can even watch the bandwidth consumption on their routers, if that’s your thing.) Brigham.net is a local company in Brigham City that also offers managed IT solutions for small businesses. Veracity has a rock-solid voice setup, especially for larger enterprises. They each have their own little thing they’re good at. The good news is that you should be able to switch with little effort if any given ISP gets on your bad side.

  6. Rich says:

    Following response was received today from XMission when I emailed sales@xmission.com inquiring about upgrading to gigabit:

    We’ve actually just been informed that Utopia has to order more equipment to handle the gig upgrades. Check back with us in a couple weeks to find out where we’re at.

    So it sounds like the 1GB option should be avail shortly (when Utopia gets more 1GB capable fiber gateways in stock) and this gives me some time to upgrade my router in order to actually take advantage of these speeds!;)

    • Jesse says:

      Running short on 1GB equipment probably says a lot about the demand. And that’s good news.

      And yes, router upgrades are probably necessary for most folks. Most of the cheap ones shipped with 100Mbps WAN ports, and even 802.11ac won’t be able to keep up with it in real-world terms. But what a problem to have!

  7. Dan says:

    I talked to Utopia today, they told me roughly a 7-9 day turn for a new gig connection. They said all of the new installs now have the equipment for gig, even if you sign up for 100mb initially. Couple of things came up.

    1) One sticking point is they want to run the fiber aerial to my house, which is not a good choice. I set a ways off the street, have to have the entry to my house be on the back, and REALLY don’t want an aerial drop.
    I already have 2 conduits run from the telephone pole out in front of my property. Does anyone know their specs for an underground install in customers conduit? They said they would only send a tech out to look once I had signed a contract. I’d like to solve the issue before I sign.

    2) In thinking about 100megabit vs 1000mb (gigabit) I realized that it is very unlikely that anyone will really notice any difference between 100 and 1000 in actual practical use. Since they are both fiber, the latency should be identical.

    The benefit would be of course, a bigger pipe. The reality is that the vast majority of what is done on the web is not really enhanced by a gig pipe.

    For example, I downloaded the Gold Master release of IOS7 2 days ago, from a very fast file share server. I did it on a 100mb fiber connection at a business. The DL was 1.3gigabytes and it took about 2.5 minutes, a throughput of 8.66 megabytes per second. 100megabit at 100% throughput (no overhead) is 12.5 megabytes per second.

    In comparison a 1000gigabit connection could in theory do it 10 times faster – in 15 seconds or 85 megabytes per second! The reality is that very few web servers would deliver the data that fast.

    So i am curious, what kind of things do you feel would be enhanced by a gig connection vs 100megabit?

    Dan

    • Jesse says:

      I don’t think UTOPIA has access to any conduit of their choosing. They also still have issues with pole attachments. I think you can ask for the specs for conduit and they’ll provide them, if you want to get your own.

      Gigabit is mostly important if you need to do large data transfers to another site with gigabit or plan to have multiple activities that, in aggregate, would consume more than 100Mbps. Let’s say you setup a FreeNAS box and want to use it both as a Plex server for your friends and family, an ownCloud box for file sync, and a CrashPlan backup target. Any one of those tasks isn’t going to cause a problem for a 100Mbps connection. However, let’s say you have 5 friends doing 20Mbps Plex streams, using 10Mbps each to upload to ownCloud, and you want to use Netflix in Super HD. That’s where gigabit can be pretty darn useful. Another example would be if you’re doing a full drive backup to, say, Mozy, and several people at once want to view Super HD streams. You could easily saturate your 100Mbps connection.

      The point of gigabit is to make it so that you don’t have to think about bandwidth anymore since it’s as fast as the network in your house.

    • Jonathan Karras says:

      Dan,

      I assume the two conduits to your telephone pole are customer installed and not installed by Comcast or Centurylink. Going with that assumption and that at least one of them is empty I don’t know why they wouldn’t allow for it. It only saves them money and time on the install. That said I don’t have experience with Utoipa in a home setting just in a business setting.

      I know from a business customer perspective all the providers are more than happy to enter a building via customer owned conduit. Especially as they are just going to charge you to install a building entrance from the utility easement if there wasn’t one and charge you 10-20% on top of their contractors cost. Except for Centurylink they just make you provide it.

      Word to the wise if your ever building an office building put in 3 or more 4″ conduits to the nearest utility easement on your property for communications lines.

  8. Dan says:

    You comments on gig bandwidth justification make sense.
    In thinking about it I have realized that the overall point is there needs to be a shift in technology and mentality towards bandwidth to make it ubiquitous, meaning that we never have to worry about it, never worry if there is enough or how fast it is. Our activities should not be limited by low or slow bandwidth. That would truly be a different world.

    Up to now bandwidth has always been a consideration. Taking gig to the masses via Utopia, Google Fiber and others represents a start of this shift. Bandwidth should be like electricity, it is just there and available.

    I drove past several Utopia installations in my neighborhood over the weekend and looked closely at how there were run, all of them were aerial. Many of them were quite messy, running through trees, up and over the phone lines etc.. It just strengthened my resolve to get mine in conduit underground! I have reached out to Utopia for conduit specs, but nothing back from them yet. The cable did look small enough to easily fit in a 1″ or 1 1/4″ conduit.

    Thanks for the direction!

    • Rich says:

      My Utopia Install over a year ago here in Centerville was completely underground conduit to the same location as the former Comcast cable was run and comes above ground at the southeast corner of the house. I believe the fiber run is a single optical cable to the junction box for lack of a better term into the across the street neighbors yard…

  9. Bernie says:

    I am paying $49 for 20/20 Mb in SW Orem on Veracity,
    I would like a $35 option, or at least a better speed for my $49. What are my options?
    Thanks

    • Jesse says:

      Call Veracity and see if they can get you on a better plan. If they can’t/won’t, there’s several other residential providers you can talk to (XMission, SumoFiber, WebWave, Beehive Broadband, InfoWest).

  10. Bernie says:

    I am paying $49 for 20/20 Mb in SW Orem on Veracity,
    I would like a $35 option, or at least a better speed for my $49. What are my options?
    Thanks

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