Looks like UTOPIA has finally launched a new website. It looks a lot better than the old one and appears to include a way to see where service is available, though that feature is currently down. It’s definitely a marked improvement over the old one.
The service provider list also shows that Voonami is now a commercial service provider on the network, bringing the total up to 9 companies providing service. The board meeting schedule for 2010 has also been posted. Go give it a poke and see if you find anything else interesting.
The new web site looks good.
I did not see a link to their 2010 budget, but here is the link to what they filed with the state for those interested.
It appear they plan to have an operating loss of 1.7 million in 2010. I think it very sad they they are not operating cash flow positive after all these years. Is there no end to the red ink??
I would never expect them to be able to make their bond payments, but I would expect the new management to make them operate cash flow positive on their day to day operating budget.
The budget fails to do a revenue break-out as was shown last year (i.e. how much of the “revenue” is from subscriber revenue vs. other sources)?
Currently they are losing $33,000+ each week they keep the doors open. I suspect that means the cities will not only have to pay the full bond payment, but an additional $1.7 million in 2010 to keep UTOPIA on life support.
Here’s an interesting number….they show they plan to add 12,900 customers in 2010, but only $478,000 in new revenue. That comes to only $6.17 revenue per month per new subscriber???
That makes little sense, someone should check my numbers.
Perhaps the lower revenue per subscriber for new subs reflects the large number of Brigham City subscribers they expect, who will bring in less revenue for UTOPIA since they paid for their build-out upfront.
That’s possible….and the fact that all (most?) future customers will be doing the same? There were only about 1600 Brigham City customers and the growth for the year (which is already over 6 months over) is over 1000 subs a month. Since we can guess that they have only connected fewer than 1000 customers since July 1 (budget start) and will be below 2000 (new customers) after ALL Brigham City customers get connected….it sure makes you wonder where the remaining 10,000+ customers are going to come from and how they are going to be installed in the remaining 5 months of the budget year??? That would actually be about 100 connects a day for the rest of the year?
Can UTOPIA do that???
But that still presents a significant problem. If the avg. revenue per sub on new customers is only $6.17 and the full revenue per sub slips down to only $18.98 per sub per month (revenue divided by subs) the likelihood of making any progress toward paying ANY of the bond payments seems low? How many customers do you need at an avg. revenue of $19 a month to pay the bond payment? 100,000 or so?
I’m not surprised they’re running in the red and will not be surprised if they continue to do so for several years. They’ve been put in a tough spot by bad decisions made by prior management and the current management is trying to make the best of it. I think the strategy is sound and simple: push the SAA for residential subs as a way to spread the network and pick up high-dollar long-haul customers that want to use their transport from SLC to Las Vegas. If they pick up some stimulus dollars or get reimbursements from RUS (both of which are likely), all the better.
That said, I’m very frustrated that I’ve been telling them for a long time that they need to be chasing the wireless backhaul market and I have yet to see or hear any serious effort on their part to actually go after it. Both Qwest and Comcast are marketing for those wholesale dollars; why isn’t UTOPIA? Why aren’t their providers? We’re talking tens of millions of dollars per year in revenues that they aren’t even trying to get, revenues that incumbents will lock up in multi-year contracts and make untouchable. And why aren’t they chasing WISPs to score their backhaul business? There’s lots of money to be made from wireless without having to build much of anything.
I still think that UTOPIA will make it in the long run, but it feels like they’re taking their sweet time getting there. (I like the new website, but months to come up with that? And the service checker that worked on the beta site is broken in production?) To paraphrase John Stewart, your plate is filling up and now it’s chow time.