Why can’t I get service when UTOPIA fiber is very close to my house?

utopia-logoA very common problem in UTOPIA cities is living near the fiber but being unable to get service. I’ve heard stories of having it stop 100 feet away, barely two lots. It’s pretty frustrating to be so close, and yet so far. So why does it happen? The answer lies in how fiber gets deployed.

You’re probably used to the idea of how copper plants get deployed. For DSL, all the phone company has to do is cut in a copper pair and call it good. That’s cheap and easy (especially since the infrastructure is already built), but it’s also a very different technology. Same deal with cable. Fiber requires a very specific build pattern with huts for the fiber and rings running through a deployed area. It doesn’t take kindly to trying to splice in a connection that wasn’t planned for.

Yes, this stinks if you’re right on the edge of a deployed footprint. But running fiber to include you wouldn’t work and would probably break the existing footprint.

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5 Responses to Why can’t I get service when UTOPIA fiber is very close to my house?

  1. Charles Hart says:

    Isn’t Provo’s fiber network more like the cable topology? That’s why it was so much cheaper to deploy than Utopia?

    The downside is Provo’s upside bandwidth is lower than Utopia’s?

  2. Charles Hart says:

    someone said:

    “Ah, you’re quoting transfer (as in 1GB of data, not 1Gbps of service). I hear 1GB of data transfer is under a penny now. As far as the cost of deploying gigabit, it varied widely depending on if you use PON (Google Fiber and Verizon FiOS use GPON) or active Ethernet (UTOPIA, iProvo before Google). PON typically gets down in the $800-1000 per home range, but it’s also using a topology that has a lot in common with the shared rings of HFC coax networks. Active Ethernet is more like a REALLY big LAN, but it also costs a lot more (around $3K per home last I heard).”

    • Jesse says:

      Bingo. Provo used the same active Ethernet as UTOPIA initially, but Google is reportedly replacing it all with cheaper GPON. Provo also used federal air quality grants to build the initial rings (for traffic monitoring), so the $39.5M bond isn’t the entirety of their network investment.

  3. Kellie Johnson says:

    My problem is that I cannot get a straight answer out of UTOPIA as to where they exactly are in Orem and when they will even be near my house. It is like the whole thing is a state secret. Are they trying to make this a big fail or what?

    • Jesse says:

      I’ve been telling them for years to be much more open book (and proactively so) about where they are and where they’re going. The best option right now is to use the map at broadband.utah.gov to see where they currently have service.

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