After the first read-through of UTOPIA’s press release, I wasn’t entirely sure what they were trying to say. In fact, most of the press release seems to allude to some sort of ethereal plan to bring the network out to 20,000 more subscribers as quickly as possible. Given the financial situation that UTOPIA is currently in, I was left scratching my head. That is, until I read the last paragraph of the press release.
As we all know, UTOPIA doesn’t have any capital to use for expansion. Barring repayment from RUS or getting awarded stimulus money, I doubt there will be spare change rattling around for several years. All of the eggs are currently in the SAA basket since it’s the only way to finance building things out. Part of the problem with the SAA is the execution time required. You have to pick a specific area to be a part of the SAA. If it’s too small, it won’t be financially self-sustaining or require an unreasonably high participation rate. If it’s too large, you could easily spend a couple of years canvassing to find enough participants. Then, after months of finding the people who want service, you have to spend a few more months getting the city council to approve the bond for the SAA, then wait for the money to come in, then, after many moons, finally start digging trenches and laying fiber. It’s a time-consuming process that could be derailed at any time by the saber-rattling of the Utah Taxpayers Association, Qwest, or any number of anti-UTOPIA factions.
Now this is the statement that sticks out:
Under this next phase of growth, the eleven pledging cities would create a new bond and release funds incrementally as demand is demonstrated.
In other words, UTOPIA cities will go ahead and approve the bonds now to get the financial side rolling, then go find and form the SAAs. This not only accelerates the deployment schedule by months, it also allows for much smaller participant areas, maybe even as few as several dozen. That’s great news for residents of member cities who want service but can’t get a couple hundred neighbors to sign up as well. Once you have enough people to jump in, construction could start the next week. It’s the SAA improved and evolved.
If you live in a pledging city, now is the time to go to UTOPIA’s website to register your interest for service. Get your neighbors to do it. And your friends, family, and even that guy down the road with the busted washing machine on his porch. (You never know; he might tune into the DIY Network and get inspired to do something about it.)
the statement you’ve pulled from the press release seems tentative. “would create” is the phrase I’m having troubles with. Have the pledging cities already agreed to UTOPIA’s proposal and are they working on creating the new bond today? Or, this is this something that still has to be proposed in the cities meetings, voted on and approved, etc…, etc… etc…
Just asked Todd that question and he says they’re down to the point of working on fine details. I’d imagine it will be weeks until the first city council discussions at this point rather than months.
Based upon their latest released numbers (State 2009 Audit Report) Utopia has build 2 miles of fiber of every customer they have and only 16% of the homes that can buy service from UTOPIA do so.
This is the real problem…UTOPIA is NOT providing either a compelling service or price to make customers want to sign up.
Of those that do sign up…half take a single service…data only. You absolutely cannot afford to build a fiber to the home network if you get a low take rate and then that already low take rate only takes 1 service.
I’ve said this years ago…(see my past posts)…UTOPIA needs to figure out WHY so few homes that have access to their service elect to take it. There is no justification to build more costly fiber plant if you cannot offer a service people want at a price they are willing to pay.
Sadly for UTOPIA, existing cable broadband service meets or exceeds the needs of the vast majority of homes.
The UTOPIA idea has been kicking around for 10 years and they are 1/2 a billion dollars in debt….when will you see “The Emperor Has Not Clothes”?
In reality I’m sure everyone involved knows they are grasping at straws in a last desperate attempt to delay the inevitable. The cities are between a rock and a very hard place and as such are open to try anything no matter how foolish.
They would be better to just admit they made a mistake (a very costly mistake) and sell for pennies on the dollar as they will in the end. Stop throwing good money after bad.
So what’s the deal with Connected Lyfe being acquired by Hangman Productions? Who are they? Didn’t Connected Lyfe just barely get started as a provider on UTOPIA?
This is the first I’ve heard of it, so I haven’t the foggiest idea. Thanks for the head’s up.
Ogden Standard Examiner’s take on the bond’s.
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