The Standard-Examiner published an anti-UTOPIA editorial yesterday that, quite frankly, makes me wonder if some sort of illicit substances are in use by their editorial board. Granted, these kinds of opinion pieces are not uncommon, but this one sets a new “standard” in incoherence and inaccuracy. Allow me to “examine” the various ways in which their editorial could only make sense in a conveniently parallel dimension.
Fife wondered why suggested prices quoted by Beehive Broadband are so pricey…
Actually, $45 per month for service is actually not too shabby. The only plan that Comcast offers near that price is both a temporary 6-month introductory offer and significantly less speed. It also undercuts Beehive’s own pricing on their own FTTH network ($60/mo and up to a $895 install) for what I can assume is less speed (20Mbps both ways). On UTOPIA, they charge either $45 per month (half of which disappears in about 20 years) or $22 per month with a $2750 install cost. In a pure apples-to-apples comparison, UTOPIA is offering a very competitive price, especially when you compare like speeds (or as like as you can get) from Comcast and CenturyLink. But they deny this reality as well:
If the Beehive Broadband deal is approved, customers will still have to pay Internet prices that frankly, are not very much different from prices that can be found in the private sector.
Oh really? Comcast charges around $60/mo for 25Mbps down, 4Mbps up. CenturyLink will do 40Mbps down, 5Mbps up for the same price. XMission and InfoWest are happy to sell you a 50Mbps bi-directional connection for that much, and $23 of that monthly cost vanishes when you’ve paid off the connection.
The fact-free piece doesn’t end there, though. Consider this gem:
While elected officials in UTOPIA-yoked cities are for the most part, too stubborn to admit they made a mistake hooking up with the public/private group…
Wait, what? Cities didn’t join UTOPIA, cities created UTOPIA. It’s their baby. As much as choice elected officials like to disown it for cheap political points, that’s about as asinine as insisting that the fire department is a separate entity.
While it’s pretty obvious that the editorial board is already failing math and civics, they decide to flunk out on history as well.
And again, as mentioned, while UTOPIA may provide quality services, the prices are still similar to what could have been garnered without cities having shelled out millions in dollars.
That’s another thing that just isn’t so. Brigham City tried for years to get Comcast and Qwest to deploy more broadband with no success. Lindon even offered to pay them for it and was declined. Tremonton residents could barely get 1.5Mbps DSL, a connection that would have been top-notch more than a decade ago. Once they decided to join UTOPIA, higher-end services magically became feasible in their town and the incumbents got busy digging. Had they not joined, what would they have right now?
I don’t necessarily have an issue with someone opposing UTOPIA. I do, however, have a problem with people who have zero grasp of the facts and try to do so. It appears that the editorial board of the Standard-Examiner is such an uninformed group, although to such a degree as to have me question if they are perhaps in the wrong line of work. We expect our journalists to dig in a find facts, a task to which they appear to be ill-suited.
Excellent analysis, Jesse. One thing UTOPIA has always been able to count on is animosity from the editorial boards of the Trib/DesNews/Standard Examiner. I doubt that will ever change, regardless of any successes that UTOPIA may have. I wonder why the editorial board didn’t point out that a private sector provider (Beehive), which operates its own fiber optic network elsewhere, is choosing to utilize an open access network, in exactly the way that the network was intended to be used.
I think it’s obvious why they didn’t. It just doesn’t fit the narrative.
Even a nasty cartoon to go with it.
Does Rupert Murdock own this paper?
It is one thing to have opinion pieces for and against anything, completely another to have something so devoid of facts.
I don’t think it is proper to compare the services across the board using streight up retail prices as the point of comparison. Huge amounts of tax payer dollars went into building the “private” telcoms networks. CenturyLink for example receives FUSF, many preferentail tax benefits, and cheap access to easements.
Keep in mind that this was an editorial. As such, it is not a journalistic piece. It is the opinion of the writer, and/or the editorial board of the newspaper. Objectivity generally goes out the door, and the writer of the editorial probably has little or no background or understanding about what he/she is writing about. To base an opinion like this on quotes from one City Council meeting, probably secondhand, and about a project that has been going on for a decade, is laughable.