UTOPIA Restructuring the Bonds

UTOPIA appeared before the Tremonton city council a couple of weeks ago to discuss refinancing the current bonds held by the network. As you may recall, the bond market went sideways after these bonds were issued resulting is a significantly higher interest payment than was planned for. This move is meant to change up the bond structure to normalize the interest payments and reduce volatility. No, it’s not another request for money money, though I can already hear the Utah Taxpayers Association gearing up to spin it that way. The principle, term, and payments will remain entirely unchanged, but the cities still have to sign off on it. It may be possible, however, to secure an even better rate on the bond as rates are well south of 4% right now.

If you get any scare messages about UTOPIA wanting to get more money, be sure to set the record straight.

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7 Responses to UTOPIA Restructuring the Bonds

  1. Dirk says:

    10 years later and you still have a box of rocks. It’s just a damn expensive box of rocks that just sits there.

    Sorry that I can’t think of a better analogy.

    Utopia is not free.

    • Jesse says:

      The homes and businesses with service certainly are enjoying their 100Mbps boxes of rocks. (And no, it’s not free. But hasn’t UTOPIA said for years now that the “free lunch” model was a bust?)

  2. Dirk says:

    Brigham is committed to $35,000 per month for the next 31 years to Utopia and I can’t get a connection right here on Forest Street in Brigham City. Qwest “Century link” is completely useless so Comcast is the only option. It works well for over a year now.

    Every one I have spoken with enjoys the internet but has had large problems with their phones from the providers through the Utopia service. I would like to just see a project completed the way it was suppose to be and they could leave the “free” hype out of these projects.

    This is just more proof that you can’t force things that won’t take. Things need to occur through natural growth. When you build a Mall in the middle of the desert where there are no roads or shoppers you had better have some serious capital to wait until the world grows to where they use your services.

    • Jesse says:

      I’m sorry it’s not working out for you, but 30% of your neighbors decided it was worth buying. That’s not insignificant, and not exactly the “box of rocks” you make it out to be. Have you noticed that since that time, Brigham City is now one of the fastest locations in the state? That’s kind of a big deal.

      Phone (and especially VoIP) is a tough thing to do. I’m not surprised that UTOPIA providers have some issues with it. Vonage had a lot of problems when I used their service. Comcast has their own annoyances. I had to get a femtocell from Sprint to solve coverage issues in my house, and I’m still floored at how badly the tower selection code works on my handset.

      The sad fact of the telecom world is that MANY private companies have tried to crack that nut, and many of them have failed. Companies like Knology and Sonic.net that overbuild successfully are black swan events, and they have an unfortunately limited impact. Brigham (and the other member cities) had to make a decision: hope for a near-impossible event (a private company that builds a successful competitive wireline network), or do the work themselves. Neither option is 100% awesome, but it is definitely the least bad option and better than the status quo.

      • Dirk says:

        I agree Jesse that to have a fast internet that fiber needed to be installed.

        Why can’t a business in Brigham City, a City with the fastest internet around and on Forest Street, get a connection today?

        That’s the question.

        • Jesse says:

          That’s an excellent question. I’ll ask them when I’m in their office next week and see what kind of answer I can get.

          • UTOPIA is widely available to businesses in Brigham City, including many (but surely not all) on Forest street.

            Not knowing the particulars of this question, I’d hazard a guess that this building is one that UTOPIA does not currently pass, as fiber was laid out based on demand during the SAA buildout, and not ubiquitously delivered to every address.

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