BREAKING: Gov. Herbert Recommends UTOPIA for Broadband Stimulus

Peter Pratt at tipped me off that Gov. Herbert has made his recommendations to NTIA and that all three of UTOPIA’s proposals are on the list. This could pump over $57M into the network at a time when capital for expansion is rather difficult to come by. The money could be ready to use as early as February. While this isn’t the final word on which projects will be approved, the NTIA is very likely to go along with the recommendations from the states. The feds didn’t give independent reviewers a lot of time to screen applications before sending them to the states.

The money will be set aside for rural and underserved areas of member cities, so expect to see the money flow into Lindon, Centerville, Payson, Brigham City, Perry, and any leftover portions of Tremonton first. Residents in these cities are very likely to see a sharply reduced cost for an SAA (most likely) or the return of the free install (quite unlikely). Overall, this will mean a big expansion of UTOPIA availability which can only help the bottom line. UTOPIA’s new management will likely have a targeted build plan meant to maximize new subscribers; previously, the building had been willy-nilly.

UTOPIA isn’t the only winner in Herbert’s recommendations. UEN and the UTA picked up endorsements as did several projects from the Navajo Nation. Emery Telecom also got the nod for its three proposals to bring FTTP to its service areas in rural Utah, no doubt to unify its separate CATV and phone systems as part of the upgrade. (Seriously, guys, kudos on being one of the few rural ILECs doing something so ambitious.) There’s also an application to build a community WiFi cloud in Washington County.

All in all, it’s good news for Utah’s broadband.

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3 Responses to BREAKING: Gov. Herbert Recommends UTOPIA for Broadband Stimulus

  1. Capt. Video says:

    I am shocked!!!

    That is very good news.

    I see getting Obama money as UTOPIA’s only hope of surviving. If they get the funding it could breath much needed life into UTOPIA and would be a very good thing for everyone (except Comcast, etc.).

    While I fully agree that the NTIA will likely go along with the state recommendations, we should remember that they have received requests for something like three times the money they have available. So I expect not all the projects approved by states across the nation will be funded. But this state approval is really good news that at least they have not been shot down by the State.

  2. Jesse says:

    I was surprised myself as I thought Gov. Herbert was not a fan of UTOPIA. As someone pointed out to me, though, the recommendations for all applicants are somewhat boilerplate and rather tepid. I imagine that with the short time given for state review, they may have only been able to weed out the obvious bum deals.

  3. Capt. Video says:

    Well a successful UTOPIA (iProvo, etc.) is good for UTAH….bringing FTTH to at least some of the state and providing competitive pressure on Qwest/Comcast to insure their local networks are as good as they can make them.

    It also benefits the State to get FREE federal money spent here….creates jobs, that spending rolls over in the economy, etc.

    Let’s hope they make the final cut!

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