Yesterday's Davis County Clipper ran an article about UTOPIA's installation delays, plugging FreeUTOPIA in the process. Where does the blame lie for slow installations? Look no further than the Rural Utility Service. Though the RUS approved a loan to UTOPIA for rural broadband development last fall, paperwork has kept the loan from closing in a timely manner. Once closed, however, it opens the door to deployments in Brigham City, Tremonton, Centerville and Payson, at a minimum.
While the delays can be frustrating, it's worth drastically lowering the cost of installation for member cities. That's probably a small consolation for residents in Murray, Midvale, Orem and West Valley City where construction has temporarily stopped to be able to leverage the federal dollars. The money from the RUS has an expiration date and can only be used on cities with a population under 20,000.
Roger Black, the COO for UTOPIA, says that areas where it's been installed are seeing a 21% take rate, slightly below initial projections but above the take rates needed to have UTOPIA run in the black. This good financial news is in stark contrast to the red ink projected to bleed from iProvo for the foreseeable future despite having a significantly higher take rate. The takeaway is that pooled risk is a Good Thing(TM), something that Provo and American Fork apparently didn't get the memo on.
The funniest thing I find about being mentioned in the Clipper is that I had no idea it was coming until I read the article. You'd think they would want to talk to the guy running a website they find useful.
(See full article here.)