Did you have a glimmer of hope that you’d be able to get UTOPIA service in your city once Macquarie comes in? Sen. John Valentine just smashed it with a hammer. His floor amendment to SB190 makes it so that only current UTOPIA cities can use a utility fee to finance construction of the network. Any new cities that join would be unable to do so at all.
Why does this matter? Because Macquarie has structured the entire deal around it. If future cities can’t do it, they can’t get the same terms that Macquarie is offering UTOPIA. This could derail their rumored plans to cover the entire state in gigabit fiber with over a dozen competing providers.
Right now, the bill is in the Senate and will come to a floor vote. It’s urgent that you contact members of the Senate, particularly your senator, to tell them to oppose this amendment. Sen. Valentine is working in bad faith by not involving UTOPIA cities either in this new amendment or the original bill.
Click here to email the entire Senate body and voice your opposition! They need to hear from you.
UPDATED 2-27-2014 2:25PM: We won! Valentine has committed to UTOPIA mayors to pull Amendment 2. Now if it can just go through without any other trickery…
Before we panic, can we get an opinion from a representative from Macquarie if this last minute change actually would prevent them from completing the existing and expanding into other cities?
UTOPIA’s general counsel called it a bad change. That’s good enough for me.
It seems that it would at the very least not allow a utility fee to finance the construction of a network.
From what I gather they still can expand, but not use that fee to speed things along.
This is true, but Macquarie’s entire plan hinges on being able to assess that utility fee. That would quite likely extend to new cities.
Just got finished pounding out an email, I suppose I should figure out who my rep is and give their office a call.
Automatic response from Howard Stephenson, should have expected that lol.
Most of them have autoreplies right now. I imagine they see a rather large volume of email.
I emailed last night, while most were auto replies. I actually got two to respond who were against the bill, and this was after 9 p.m.
So I sent an email to the list and Todd Weiler called me stupid without calling me stupid.
Todd Weiler wrote back and asked, why do you oppose them?
Tell him it ought to be left up to the individual municipalities if they would like to participate or not, rather than being mandated by the State closing the door completely.
“Amendment 2 threatens the Macquarie deal and would prevent them from entering into public-private partnerships with additional cities to spread gigabit fiber throughout the state.” That should explain it well.
Sent an email to Jerry Stevensen, Sen of my district. Seeing as he was Mayor of Layton when Layton became a member of Utopia it seems likely he would agree with me, but email sent regardless.
Reply from Stevenson:
“You are absolutely correct”. As expected, now hopefully he can convince some of his colleagues.
Here’s my blog post that has some good talking points if you plan to e-mail senators – http://tinyurl.com/mvsodpt.
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I’ve been chomping to see a test case under the FCC’s apparent new authority (its not really new, but the courts have now affirmed it) to nullify state laws that interfere with municipal broadband efforts. Maybe this would be a great case to move under that authority, if SB190 passes as Sen. Valentine has amended it and if the Gov. signed it. I would think the FCC would take some interest if a legislature arbitrarily decided to kill a $300 million investment in fiber optic infrastructure. I’d love to see the legislature get its due with this kind of thing.