Utah Taxpayers Association Launches Sophmoric “uNOpia” Site Opposing Macquarie Deal

Utah Taxpayers AssociationSurprising exactly nobody, the Utah Taxpayers Association has launched an effort to try and derail the Macquarie deal using misinformation, half-truths, and outright lies. Using the sophomoric name “uNOpia“, they falsely claim that the deal will cost more (when it is actually less than selling), that those who can’t afford the utility fee will be forced to pay it (when the deal includes waivers for the indigent), and that cities lose all control of how the deal works (when it’s all hammered out in a contract). The lies are blatant hysteria designed to whip people into an unhinged frenzy, exactly the same as they’ve done time and time again on anything UTOPIA.

The best thing you can do is make sure you show up at public meetings and counter the misinformation campaign paid for by incumbents CenturyLink and Comcast. It’s time for these hatchetmen to take a seat and let the adults in the room speak.

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10 Responses to Utah Taxpayers Association Launches Sophmoric “uNOpia” Site Opposing Macquarie Deal

  1. Richard says:

    I’m planning to go for the Orem meeting. I want to ask if they don’t support the proposal, how will the address the issue of residents paying for the service debut but not being able to get it.

  2. Andrea says:

    Let’s count how many times the Utah Taxpayers Association has been wrong on UTOPIA.

    1. They claimed UTOPIA’s costs would go over budget. Verdict: Wrong. UTOPIA’s costs came under budget.

    2. They claimed UTOPIA would not meet its take rates. Verdict: Wrong again! UTOPIA has exceed its projected take rates.

    3. They claimed UTOPIA would expose taxpayers to risk. Verdict: Wrong again! Taxpayers have been exposed to exactly zero risks. UTOPIA has not cost taxpayers a single dime!

    4. They claimed that UTOPIA would not give its cities an economic advantage over non-UTOPIA cities. Verdict: wrong again! UTOPIA cities have experienced massive budget surpluses and economic development while non-UTOPIA cities have had budget deficits.

    5. They claimed UTOPIA would lead to tax increases. Verdict: wrong again! UTOPIA cities have been cutting taxes while non-UTOPIA cities have been raising taxes.

    I could go on, but you get the picture. Why doesn’t the Salt Lake Tribune call them out for being wrong on UTOPIA?

    • Anonymous says:

      Nice one! However, this kind of broad-brush assessment, the sort the UTA uses, leaves out all of the nuance of the pros and cons of UTOPIA, and the reasons why these things are they way they are, and mentions none of the positives brought in by UTOPIA.

      I understand the frustration of those opposed to UTOPIA, but what I don’t understand is their complete lack of any real-world solutions to the current state of affairs. I’ve never once heard the UTA and their ilk propose something that we can do with UTOPIA that wouldn’t result in things being worse than they already are.

      So beyond opposing UTOPIA, what exactly does the UTA bring to the discussion regarding UTOPIA? In my view, they’re nothing more than an antagonist-for-hire, not the proponent of the people that they clame to be. If their “solution” results in people paying more taxes in the long run, how is that worth supporting?

      • Anonymous says:

        “that they clame to be”

        clame: Variant spelling of clam. Thanks a lot, Firefox spell checker. How embarassing. Good thing I’m anonymous!

  3. Ronald D. Hunt says:

    It is registered by Greg Hartley, A contestant for Utah’s top lobbyest,


    He ranks well above Royce Van Tassell, The powers that been seem worried enough about this deal that they have bought bigger guns. Greg was at least smart enough to buy his domain before advertising it, However he did it through 1and1, ouch.

    He is listed as staff for ischoolcampus,


    What we have here is a lobbyest hit man, Be on your toes, The objective for these guys is likely to throw enough mud in the gears to make the deal fall apart.

    I will bet you FirstDigital coming from out of the blue is more design then then a real intent to finish the network, If I were to speculate… and I will!, This looks more like a false flag to delay the process and find ways to throw fud into the gears. If they can drag just one large city out… say Orem, they can buy time to lobby the legislature or find other ways to fight it.

  4. Pingback: Lies, Half-Truths, and uNOpia - Free UTOPIA!

  5. LT says:

    Here are a few of the problems with the McQuarie plan.

    1. They have NO experience building a fiber network. Yes they have experience on large project like building bridges but this is like hiring a car dealership to build your computer.
    2. The 300 Million is not sufficient funding to create a ubiquitous build. There are multiple existing networks that can be used as examples of actual cost models to prove this.
    3. There are alternate plans that have been presented to the cities that require NO addition costs to the taxpayers AND create additional revenue for Utopia, perhaps sufficient to pay off the existing debt, or if not at least to substantial offset it.
    4. Utopia has been so poorly run to this point that their books are almost impossible to reconcile. The existing network needs an experienced provider to manage it. The MacQuarie proposed provider has no experience running a municipal fiber network.

    • Greg says:

      While I can’t claim I know anything about number 2 and 3. I can definitely dispute 1 and 4:

      1. Large companies try other business ventures all the time. It doesn’t matter if they don’t have experience in building fiber networks. They have the connections, and capital to hire a company with experience. It’s more like a car dealership hiring a computer company so the dealership can get into the computer business.

      4. You are correct on the poorly run aspect up to this point (which needs improvement). I’m not sure what you mean by, “MacQuarie proposed provider” as there are many experienced providers on the network already. The network is going to remain open.

    • Richard says:

      LT, what other options do you speak of in #3. Can you point to publicly available documents so we can learn more?

    • Jesse says:

      LT, it’s not a perfect plan, but it’s the best the cities are likely to get.

      1) Macquarie has been the builder and operator on several cable plants in Asia. They’re also working with subcontractors who are huge names in fiber (like Alcatel Lucent and Fujitsu). They didn’t just fall off the wagon a la Broadweave.
      2) 300M is to complete 73% of the network or about 119K homes. That puts the cost around $2500 per home, well within expected figures for a project of this scale.
      3) There are no other plans that I’m aware of on the table. If you’re talking about FirstDigital, those guys are in WAY over their head. Would you trust a company with under $1M in annual revenue to take over a $90M asset? I sure wouldn’t.
      4) UTOPIA has been audited by the state and their financial figures are accurate (even if they are doing poorly). They have outside auditors and accountants that make sure the books are accurate. You’re up in the night on this point.

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