More Details on UTOPIA's Build Progress

A surprisingly accurate story from the Deseret Morning News (no, really) reveals further details on UTOPIA's current build progress. Here's a list of the current completion per city:

  • Lindon: 95-99%
  • Payson: 95-99%
  • Tremonton: 95-99%
  • Perry: 50%
  • Orem: 50%
  • Murrary: 50%
  • Midvale: 40%
  • Brigham City: 33%
  • Centerville: 25%
  • Layton: 15%
  • West Valley City: 15%

We also get some more critical details on the financial picture. With the current 7,000 subscribers, UTOPIA is currently covering operating costs. Given the two-year reprieve from bond payments under the new bonding plan, UTOPIA will have plenty of time to wrap up construction in the current Phase I and Phase II cities and boost subscriber numbers to the point where covering the debt service won't be an issue.

So how about the benefits already realized by UTOPIA users? Orem is saving $600,000 per year in telecommunications costs, a sizable chunk of the money they pledged for UTOPIA. Print Advantage of Lindon went from ferrying around large files on portable hard drives to having customers directly upload them over their shiny new 10Mbps connection, a connection that cost just 60% of what they paid for a T-1 line at about 1/7th of the speed. Laura Lewis, a member of the firm that handles UTOPIA's finances, downloads movies from iTunes 60 times faster than her friend in Sandy.

As more details come out, the future for UTOPIA looks bright indeed. Let's hope that the city councils in member cities see it the same way when voting on the rebonding. 

Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to More Details on UTOPIA's Build Progress

  1. Luke says:

    I did feel this is one of the only mostly positive stories I have seen in standard news sources for some time. It started out somewhat negative, but seemed to put a mostly positive spin on it as it got going.
    However I know the numbers are close, but I still think they are exagerated. It’s been a while since I was with a Utopia provider but I know Orem isn’t close to 50%, most of he East side and North of 8th North are still lacking. The only part of Payson I ever saw Utopia stuff was in the newer areas in the south end. I never saw anything in the other Payson Areas. That’s about all I feel comfortable with making assumptions on. I am not as familiar with other cities to decide how much these numbers have been inflated.
    All in all, I hope the news continues in a mostly positive light.

  2. Jesse says:

    One thing that is unclear is if the percentage of completion is just the fiber rings or if that counts going all the way to the curb. If they’re including the whole of the project, it’s possible that less than 50% of the city has service while total construction is 50% done.

  3. I can say that south of University Pkwy and West of State Street in Orem HAS utopia! They are several families in the neighborhood that made the switch…and we aren’t turning back. My wife and I love Utopia so much that when we move to another city, it MUST be “Utopia-Member” City, even if we don’t get Utopia the day we move.

    However, they is one problem I’ve seen where Utopia doesn’t seem to want to work with the customer. One guy in my neighborhood is renting a downstairs apartment and the fiber optics installation guy said it will be too much stress to run the cable for fiber. The renter went with comcast and he’s online with them…. A few houses down the street, a guy and his wife are also renting a downstairs apartment and he got fiber from MStar. It shows that if they want to get more customers, they need to think of better solutions to get the fiber to the customers!

  4. Utahteacher says:

    Tablet and I must be neighbors. And I second his thought–we LOVE our internet through UTOPIA.

    We use Veracity because we have heard only bad things about M-Star and X-mission only offers internet service. Veracity has internet and phone, and M-star does the triple play with cable included. We have had multiple issues with the phone service, but we get free long-distance at home and the internet has been great–exactly one blip in two years.

    How does UTOPIA decide where to roll out? I’m glad we have it in our neighborhood, but from Luke’s comment, it seems like many of the better neighborhoods are without. Is is just a question of what is closer to some main line? Or do nicer neighborhoods switch service less than others?

  5. Jesse says:

    I’m not sure what criteria has been used to do the roll outs in the past, but I do know that future roll outs are going to be based on demand as reported by the providers on the network. If I had to guess, it’s probably going to be available to middle-class neighborhoods first with lower-class and upper-class neighborhoods being filled in towards the end of construction.

    One of the big challenges they face is getting into MDUs (apartments and condos). Installation in these complexes requires the permission of the complex owner and these are frequently under long-term contracts with Comcast or Qwest for services. While the FCC has invalidated exclusive contracts in MDUs for phone and television services, I don’t believe this obligates MDU owners to allow installation of new infrastructure. The same situation often applies to office buildings, though they can still have exclusive contracts for services.

  6. Luke says:

    In response to basement apartments not getting service I may have some feedback. I was in a basement apartment in Orem for almost 2 years and was able to get service installed. This was while I was with a Utopia provider so I had a little bit more information into why I was able to when some weren’t. My landlord made the basement a fully legal address and therefore Utopia had planned fibers for each numbers address. Which means strictly speaking that house can get two connections. However they did spend a LONG time figuring out how to get the fiber into the house. But that’s one of the drawbacks when you bring fiber into homes that weren’t build with it in mind.

  7. Jason says:

    Would it be too much to ask to have their current build status, what they’re working on next, and a list of milestones and projected dates?

    I mean, the customers are excited to get signed up for their service, show they should keep the carrot in front of our carts as much as they can, so we don’t get tired of waiting and go elsewhere.

  8. Jesse says:

    The rumor mill says that UTOPIA will have a newly-redesigned website Real Soon Now(TM) that will hopefully be more up-to-date.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *