Once again, the Daily Herald completely misses the mark on UTOPIA

It’s pretty incredible that even now newspapers can’t get stories about UTOPIA right. The Daily Herald penned a recent op-ed that managed to skip or mangle so many facts that it’s no small wonder they came to the erroneous conclusions that they did. I have to take some time to dissect the many, many ways in which they fall into decades-old failing arguments and end up doing little more than parroting the kind of tripe the Utah Taxpayers Association has shoveled since the very beginning.

First, they start off with a few paragraphs talking about 5G wireless. Remember when everyone told us that 4G LTE deployments would eradicate the need for wired Internet service at all? Or that WiFi would do the same thing? Yet here we are, two decades after 802.11 was introduced in consumer devices and nearly a decade into LTE deployments and that’s nowhere near the case. 5G will be no different. It lives on short-range frequencies that require deploying a ton of infrastructure to support. And, surprise, a big part of that is fiber to each one of the access points.

Then they declare that bonding to finish construction puts Orem in deep financial trouble. Except, well, it doesn’t. Ever since the SAA/UIA model rolled in, every bond issued is guaranteed by subscribers. It won’t even get issued until the take rates are high enough to break even. The latest news about the UIA is that it even generates revenues in excess of the bond costs, a net positive. So, seriously, where is the downside when the worst case scenario is break even?

Oddly, they then launch into concerns about Orem’s needed infrastructure spending. But what is fiber if not infrastructure? Given past results, a new UIA bond would cover some of the original bond debt and free up more money to spend on other things including roads. It’s concern trolling at its finest.

There’s one of two possibilities for the sloppy fact-omitting editorial that the Daily Herald’s board pumped out: they either are ignorant of the facts or chose to deliberately ignore them. In either case, they have acted very irresponsibly by pushing a view that doesn’t jive with reality. Hopefully they’ll be open to getting educated and publishing a “mea culpa” response.

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49 Responses to Once again, the Daily Herald completely misses the mark on UTOPIA

  1. chris conder says:

    It is just the same here in the UK, the meeja are not real reporters they just dance to the tune of the loudest organ grinder. None of the reporters are techie, nor the editors. Most folk in this country are totally convinced that fibre comes down phone lines.

  2. Tod Hadley says:

    As a member of the Public Works advisory committee and a citizen of Orem I can’t agree more. The Daily Herald really blew this one when it comes to the facts.

  3. Christoph Storrer says:

    Here is the problem UTOPIA has. “Remember that time 15 years ago when we were all going to be on fiber…” See, the other side can do this too. UTOPIA has kinda lost a lot of it’s good will. Orem is only at 40% build out. It’s been 15 years. In fact, whenever I ask about getting it to my house, I’m given 1 of 2 answers: there is no plan for your neighborhood. Or, sure for $10k.
    Now I see with this bond coming up the build out will be finished and paid for by subscribers. With great reluctance I will support the bond. However, you need to understand, that in my book, this is the last chance. After this UTOPIA in Orem survives or dies on its own. So my advice would be, you need to win people to your cause and pull back from the argumentative nature of your posts. There are two sides to this debate, and until now UTOPIA has been a pretty big boondoggle.

    • Jesse says:

      @Christoph I think you generally have good points, but this is a major daily newspaper, not some Internet commenter speaking from ignorance. The paper of record for Utah County has a duty to get things right in everything they do, even expressing opinions. I hold them to a much higher and harsher standard for good reason. Everyone should.

  4. Paul Larsen says:

    A comment in the op-ed about small cell also revealed just how much they miss on that front as well. Yes, small cell doesn’t add (much) to the proliferation of large cell towers, but the implication in the article is that small cell antennas will be invisible. That’s not the case. If you are in a community that has underground utilities and enjoys views unobstructed by wires everywhere, get ready for that to change. Small cell requires a lot of antennas, and cities now have very little control over where they will go. Don’t want a tower in your back yard? Tough. If you have a utility easement there, and most lots do, wireless companies now have the right to erect a pole in your back yard and you can scream all you want to the city, but it won’t do any good. These antennas will also be linked by – get ready for it – fiber optic cable. The ULCT and its small cell working group were able to at least eliminate a lot of the truly rotten language that was in Sen. Bramble’s original bill, but the fact remains that you’re going to see a lot more clutter on power and light poles, including decorative poles which are fair game under the act. I have to wonder how long the 5G fad will last before the next best thing comes along and all of the 5G antennas are obsolete. I’m guessing fiber will still be king.

    • luminous says:

      Two words, Spectral efficiency.

      5G won’t be deployed in the suburbs, or rural settings. It will primarily be a tech used to relieve pressure from LTE cells in congested area’s. Its not a stand alone wireless technology rather it is complementary to existing wireless operations.

      That is to say, 5G is to cell/wireless networks, what cell/wireless are to wire line service.

      5G may be used for microcells, you might see it in little home AP’s for people in poor coverage area’s, who don’t mind it using their home internet for the backhaul. Tmobile has sold 3G microcells like this before.

  5. I don’t recall anyone, let alone “everyone”, saying LTE or Wi-Fi would eliminate the need for wires. Can you please provide a source for this claim?

  6. luminous says:

    BTW, that article is likely written by a Fellow from the American Enterprise Institute, Richard Bennett. He also runs his own political lobbing organization “hightechforum”.

    This does not appear to be disclosed anywhere in the opinion piece.

    • Good show, luminous – you tell four lies in three sentences. Here are the corrections:

      1. I’ve never written anything for the Herald, but I’m now motivated to do just that.

      2. I left AEI two years ago.

      3. High Tech Forum is not a lobbying organization, nor is it a “lobbing” organization as you claim.

      4. I don’t ghost write editorials, I only publish things with my real name on them.

      What’s your real name, BTW?

      I’m not impressed by UTOPIA because it has failed to deliver on the promises its promoters have been making since 2002. If it really were the greatest thing ever, the build out would be complete already, with no bond money needed after the first quarter of the town was connected.

      • luminous says:

        You know damn well, that 501(3)(C)’s are used as pass through entities for 501(4)(C) Entities, so as to avoid disclosing their donors.

        AEI, is a Lobbying Organization, “Educating” government representatives on policy issues is Lobbying.

        High Tech Forum Advertises its Lobbying,,…. I am sorry… “Education” activities on its web site.

        From said Page…

        Richard advises regulators, lawmakers, and industry leaders on both sides of the Atlantic on networking standards and systems as an independent consultant and formerly as a Research Fellow at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation in Washington.

        If you don’t want to be called a lobbyist, Don’t advertise that you are one.

        • Jesse says:

          CrunchBase also lists him as still being at AEI. Maybe he can threaten them with a RICO suit for doing the libel.

        • Are you familiar with the concept of libel, Ludicrous? You continue to claim I have some current connection with AEI after I’ve told you I don’t. You can easily verify my statement by going to the AEI web site and looking at their scholar directory (click refine content on the main page and then click scholar.)

          Similarly, a 401(c)(3) is are not 401(c)(4). If you can’t understand simple things like these, how can we expect you to give honest accounts of your alleged engineering expertise?

          Note to Jesse: Ludicrous offers these claims as facts, not mere opinions. I think you know what that means for you.

          • Jesse says:

            What it means is more entertainment for my lawyer friends. The legal threats you’ve sent so far have been hilarious.

          • Ludicrous says:

            Copying the last half of the last paragraph from the about page of your lobbying organization and presenting it as evidence of your status as a lobbyist, Or using your own written statements truly is an unfounded basis for researching the activities you are involved in.

            And because it is rude to change handles mid conversation,

            This is luminous!,

            And alleged engineering expertise?, I don’t recall make any claims with regards to my credentials.

            • You puffed up your chest and claimed to be a communications engineer on the Herald’s site, Ludicrous, where you hide behind the pseudonym “Rd Hunt.”

              You’re intent on painting me as a lobbyist (or “lobbist”) because you can’t refute my arguments. Let me repeat: nobody is paying me to comment on UTOPIA. I’d be happy if someone would, but I haven’t had any offers yet.

              Who should I ask? Your community is in the grip of some fairly clueless fanatics, and I could save you all a lot of money – like $40M. That must be worth something.

              • Ludicrous says:

                No I didn’t,

                I explicitly said and I doth quote myself from the comment section of the daily herald tabloid…

                Ahhh, The authority figure fallacy. This one is pretty common on the internet, So I will let you off easy, When you have a degree in Mathematics, Electronics engineering, and 10 years or so of experience researching radio technology for Motorola, or Qualcomm. Then you can get back to me. Until such time as that occurs and is verifiable, you are no different from me or any other random guy on the internet. And do Note I am not pulling this fallacy as I make no claims as with regards to my own credentials.

                • It seems you would rather talk about personalities than issues. That’s the hallmark of a weak mind.

                  • Jesse says:

                    Weren’t you leaving never to return? Or can you just not help but pick at the scab because someone on the Internet is “wrong”?

                    • Well yes, Jesse, I did announce I was leaving. But despite that announcement, your pal Ludicrous smeared me again, just like he did on the Herald’s site. That Ludicrous is quite an advocate.

                      Now that I have your attention, I stumbled upon the source data for your citation from the estimable Ars. You cited a 2013 story in the FCC’s Measuring Broadband America report from 2012. The most recent report of that series was released on Dec 1, 2016 quite a bit later. Here’s what it says about satellite latency:
                      “Satellite technologies inherently display long latency since the round trip path a data packet will travel from an earth station to the satellite and return is very long, approximately 44,000 miles. As a consequence, the median latencies of satellite-based broadband services (which range from 599 ms to 629 ms) are much higher than those for terrestrial-based broadband services (which range from 12 ms to 58 ms).” [page 9]

                      While satellite latency remains high, it has improved since 2012.

                      Thank you for sharing your feelings.

  7. I’d like to see some clarification on this: “Remember when everyone told us that 4G LTE deployments would eradicate the need for wired Internet service at all? Or that WiFi would do the same thing?”

    I’ve been involved in the development of Wi-Fi from 1991, and I don’t recall anyone, let alone “everyone”, claiming it would eliminate the need for wires in the Internet infrastructure. In fact, we didn’t even see Wi-Fi as an Internet access technology because the Internet was just an obscure research network in those days.

    The reality is that Wi-Fi was originally intended for offices with Novell Netware file and print servers. Novell was founded in Orem so some of you may have heard of it. Novell based their product on the Xerox Network System protocols and didn’t even have a full Internet solution until it acquired Excelan and incorporated its TCP/IP into Netware.

    Similarly, “everyone” didn’t say 4G LTE would make all wires unnecessary. There are LTE networks that provide end user connections in the 80 – 100 Mbps range today, and it is a fact that many users in Japan and Korea have cut the cord on FTTH for LTE only. These people tend to be smart phone-only users who can do everything they want without leaving the LTE network.

    Fiber does, of course, play in the role in 21st century networks: it provides long-haul transit and backhaul for wireless, cable modem, and VDSL. But that doesn’t mean every home needs a 10 Gbps wire; it means every home needs to be within 500 – 1000 feet of a 5G small cell, or connected to something like a DOCSIS 3.1 HFC network (up to 10Gbps full duplex), or connected to a G.Fast hybrid copper/fiber terminal.

    Residential broadband needs are easily satisfied by a number of technologies. Today’s residential networks are already an average of 5 – 6 times faster than web services, so the emphasis on ultra-high speeds is pretty clueless.

    • Jesse says:

      As someone who doesn’t live in Utah and hasn’t participated in the lengthy debates, I think you’re a bit out of your depth here. UTOPIA opponents have consistently and repeatedly claimed that wireless technologies would replace wired broadband service. That has yet to happen on any meaningful level. WISPs also tend to underperform their wired counterparts by an order of magnitude in both speeds and latency.

      It’s also funny that you cite LTE speeds that relatively few users will actually see in this state, even along the Wasatch Front. Also no mention of the very low data caps that prevent most users from even considering wireless as a viable option. The average broadband usage is currently around 190GB/mo per home. The largest “unlimited” plans start to throttle after 22GB and cost far more than your typical wired home broadband connection. See the big disparity here?

      Dismissing fiber to the realm of long haul and middle mile projects is to deny all of the many reasons why it is a superior medium for service to homes. It has lower maintenance costs, much higher potential speeds, fewer outages… the list of advantages to customer and service provider alike goes on and on. The main reason why incumbents fight it is that they don’t want to spend the money when psychotic “investors” demand golden quarters every quarter. Remember when Verizon was first building FIOS and they had to fight the board to spend that money? Now they eat their competitors’ lunch, but they didn’t learn the investment that spending money on network upgrades is a great long-term vision.

      • Nice comment, Jesse. But you didn’t answer my question, so let’s try again. I said:

        “I’d like to see some clarification on this: “Remember when everyone told us that 4G LTE deployments would eradicate the need for wired Internet service at all? Or that WiFi would do the same thing?”

        “I’ve been involved in the development of Wi-Fi from 1991, and I don’t recall anyone, let alone “everyone”, claiming it would eliminate the need for wires in the Internet infrastructure. In fact, we didn’t even see Wi-Fi as an Internet access technology because the Internet was just an obscure research network in those days.”

        So who said LTE or Wi-Fi would eradicate wired internet service? I didn’t, and it only takes one exception to disprove a claim about “everyone.” It strikes me that there’s a lot more emotion than reason in the UTOPIA movement these days.

        My claim would be that it’s quite likely that 5G will introduce meaningful competition into the residential Internet services market. That’s all it needs to do to make government owned networks unnecessary. Take a look at the pilot projects Verizon and others are running outside their FiOS footprint.

        • Jesse says:

          Thanks for being the unbearable pedant in the room. I’m sure you’re fun at parties.

          And you’re still ignoring all of the many problems I’ve pointed out concerning the wireless industry because it completely undercuts your thesis.

          • The discussion around UTOPIA started in 2002, during the time that Verizon, Bell South, SBC, and Qwest were looking at FTTH in the US and countries such as Japan and Korea were looking at it internationally. The motivation was the Video on Demand trials in the late 90s that indicated DSL might be problematic for firms that wanted to bundle Internet and VoD.

            Nobody saw wireless as a viable option for such bundles at the time because the tech was undeveloped and regulators were uncertain about how to license the needed spectrum. So Verizon went ahead with BPON even though it was later to build the nation’s best mobile network when the take rates for FiOS proved as disappointing as those for UTOPIA have been.

            The argument for wireless as an alternative to VDSL, DOCSIS, and FTTH didn’t develop until 4G standards for fixed location (non-mobile) service were developed and channel aggregation became a practical reality. It doesn’t say mobile 4G wireless is the answer.

            FTTH remains a pipe dream in rural, exurban, and suburban areas because it doesn’t provide users with a better experience than less expensive alternatives. Internet performance is limited by server capacity, ad network lookup time, and web page rendering time, such that networks that deliver solid 20 Mbps capacity are all that we can make use of today. Your constant references to strawman claims about UTOPIA critics are simply excusing the fantasies floated by proponents of FTTH as somehow OK because critics may have been wrong too.

            I used to make home routers for Verizon FiOS and I’m quite familiar with it. The important point is that Verizon is not expanding the FiOS footprint any more but it is trialing fixed location 5G. What do you think you know about FTTH that the pioneer doesn’t?

            Conventional broadband provides 5-15 times more capacity than users know what to do with today, and FTTH is 50 times more. No home needs it.

            UTOPIA is also hampered by the fact that its ISPs are boutique operators that can’t offer reasonable linear TV or telephone bundles. As far as I can tell, it’s a stagnant 2002 network vision that has been made obsolete by market evolution. It reminds me of Netware in 1995.

            • chris conder says:

              The only way to get a decent connection to some homes is with a fibre. Phone lines are obsolete but technology is managing to get broadband down them, and in urban areas the majority can get enough for today’s needs. Long or damaged old phone lines don’t work. Fibre to the home is the future, it is limitless and futureproof as demands increase. FTTC is a stop gap. Fibre is cheaper to maintain. Granted, not many can use a gig, but the day is coming when they will. We need fibre, moral and optic. As for not being able to offer TV and telephone, we find on our fibre network we can get those things for free or very cheaply ourselves as customers. We don’t need packages consisting of things we don’t need, we just want a reliable connection and we have just that. We can have 10 gig if we want it, or just use 100meg if that is enough.

              • Something like 99.99% of American homes can get satellite broadband, and more than 98% can get some sort of 3GPP broadband, either fixed or mobile 4G for the most part. Cable modem reaches about 97% of American homes.

                FTTH reaches maybe 25-30%. The vast majority of FTTH homes are served by Verizon, of course. So I’m having a hard time with your claim that “The only way to get a decent connection to some homes is with a fibre,” Chris.

                Can you explain what you mean by this claim? Like, what’s your concept of “decent” and why can’t cable modem, VDSL, satellite, or microwave provide it?


                BTW, if you get your TV from the Internet for free, you’re probably stealing it, aren’t you?


                • Jesse says:

                  Satellite! A technology with a 1500-2000ms roundtrip when even a bad cable network can manage 15ms. I can’t believe you’re taken seriously in any of your arguments.

                  • Distance from earth to satellite in geosynchronous orbit: 22,000 miles up, 22,000 miles down, so 44,000 miles total.

                    Speed of light:: 186,000 miles per second.

                    Latency of satellite signal: 236 milliseconds.

                    Thanks for playing.

                • chris conder says:

                  Dunno much about America, but here in the UK southern facing hills mean satellites don’t work. Even if they do, they are out of the price range for families, who can eat £1000 worth of data a month. Mobile signal is non existent in a lot of the land mass outside cities, and copper lines are so long and damaged even dial up fails and broadband won’t work at all. We’ve tried wireless, we can’t get the backhaul and with all these hills and trees we can’t ‘see’ a lot of customers. The only technology worth spending the money on for these folk is fibre. The telcos won’t do it, so altnets have to do it, and they can. Copper is so yesterday. and the latency on our satellite connections was in the 900ms range which was bad. Our 1ms ping on fibre is awesome.

                  • Hmm…who built the telephone network in the UK? Snap, it was THE GOVERNMENT!

                    Sadly, only about a half of UK homes are passed by cable, so it’s a DSL nation. Well take heart, BT is perfectly happy to extend fiber to the farm as soon as Ofcom writes them a check.

                    That’s monopoly for you.

                    • chris conder says:

                      yes indeed, and the copper cabal is still in control, but the altnets are proving fibre is better. BT will never extend fibre to farms, if government give them money it is wasted on mobile and content. They may or may not do fibre in cities, but never for rural unless it is on the way to a mast. Therefore it is wise to support the new altnets, who deliver this to my farm. http://www.speedtest.net/result/6971931016

            • Jesse says:

              Verizon FIOS has disappointing take rates? Last I saw (and this is from Multichannel just last year) they had over 40% for Internet, 33% for video. Fiber also has significantly lower TCO and opex meaning they’re making more money per subscriber than if they had stayed with copper. You’re either ignorant or ignoring the facts that don’t fit your narrative. I can see why AEI considered you a good fit because that’s right out of their playbook.

              It’s hilarious that you argue that fixed address LTE service is a viable option for home internet service when it doesn’t exist in the United States in any meaningful volume YEARS after the technology has been available for mobile use. Again, wireless promising to do tomorrow what fiber did yesterday. I sense a theme here.

              You keep on acting as if 5G is going to be some kind of savior technology, but look at the bands it will be using. The lowest band, 3.1GHz, is unlikely to propagate more than a couple hundred meters, tops. The higher bands (like 60GHz) fare much, much worse. None of these bands deal with obstructions very well at all. In a dense urban mesh you might have something, but without fiber run to each of these nodes you’ll end up with disastrous microwave backhaul like what Sprint uses. That introduces significant latency and congestion that will absolutely prevent the technology from being primary broadband service. You claim you’re a network engineer, yet you seem to be quite obtuse on how these networks perform in the real world. Might be time to step out the lab.

              You’re also way out of touch with real world bandwidth requirements. 10Mbps is required for 1080p video which is now table stakes. You need 25Mbps+ for 4K. Throw a few streaming devices into the mix and a 100Mbps connection can easily stay pretty busy in what would be considered a normal household. Your contention that a gigabit connection is unnecessary is absurd at best.

              Verizon isn’t expanding FIOS because 1) wireless is cheaper and 2) it has higher profit margins. This has nothing whatsoever to do with service quality or demand. It has everything to do with limiting capex in order to keep quarterly results good every quarter, even at the expense of the long term health of the business. This is why Verizon and AT&T have sold off copper plants to buckets of fail like FairPoint and Frontier: they simply don’t want to spend what’s needed to maintain and upgrade decades-old infrastructure. For an expert you sure do seem to not know a lot about how the telecom business side works. Or, again, is this intentional obtuseness to avoid losing an argument?

              • FiOS has finally achieved the 40% take take MC News cites, but it took ten years of take rates in the 20 – 30% range, the rise of video streaming, and bundling with LTE to achieve them. The company projected 40% for year one, oops. You claim to have knowledge of Verizon’s motivations that you clearly lack.

                Fixed location LTE is a fairly new service offering that it making headway in rural areas. See Wave Broadband. It works well.

                5G uses all the same bands 3G and 4G uses, and several new ones as well. Your inventory is incomplete. I’ve never used the term “savior technology”, because that would make me sound like a fiber cultist. As I’ve said, wireless companies intend to use 5G to offer service outside their wireline footprints and all already trialing it.

                Netflix needs about 4 Mbps for HD (1080p) streaming. See the Netflix speed index, ispspeedindex.netflix [dot] com/country/us/ In my experience, 4K takes about 12 mbps.

                It’s 2018, kids, and networking has come a long way since 2002.

                • Jesse says:

                  Uh… really? Ars was reporting back in like 2007-8 that Verizon was very happy with a 18% take rate after two years. Are you saying that Ars, a highly respected publication, got it wrong? Or that Verizon moved their own goalposts? It’s pretty common to see break even points in the 30% range, something Verizon achieved long ago. Are you now the omniscient one in the thread?

                  There’s zero evidence of LTE and 5G using the same bands. FCC paperwork ONLY shows approval for new bands at 3.1GHz and higher. Given that all existing 2G/3G bands have already been or are scheduled to be transitioned to known LTE bands by the end of next year, I see no reason to assume that any of the major carriers are in a rush to start switching it rapidly to another service. Again, you act as if you have some kind of inside knowledge that clearly doesn’t exist.

                  You’re also, shockingly, wrong about bandwidth requirements for video. Netflix requires 5Mbps for 1080p, 12Mbps for 4K. Hulu is 6Mbps and 13Mbps. Youtube is 6Mbps up to 51Mbps. So, again, you use low numbers to bolster your case with zero evidence that they, you know, apply in the real world.

                  I’m starting to see why you left technical fields for public policy. Technical peers wouldn’t stand for any of this chicanery.

                  • “Are you saying that Ars, a highly respected publication, got it wrong?” Excuse me, I have to go to the hospital to get my broken ribs treated, Jesse. If you’re not doing standup, you’re missing your calling.

                    I was a Verizon supplier in 2007-2009. I spent a lot of time with them, and they weren’t happy about their take rates despite the happy face the PR people put on. Compare initial plans for FiOS with the reality.

                    When the insults start coming, I know the insulter is drowning. If you want to learn about broadband speeds and applications, download my conference paper from SSRN: papers.ssrn [dot] com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2944402

                    • Jesse says:

                      Well that’s precious from the guy who accused me of censorship because of a spam filter and then jumped straight into threatening spurious legal action using fabricated legal theories. But hey, you do you.

                    • Jesse says:

                      You misspelled facts. But I would be happy to Streisand Effect the emails you sent me if you’re going to persist on this point. I’m sure that’ll be great for your consulting work.

                    • You mean the email I sent you about your censorship of my replies to Ludicrous’ claim that I ghost wrote the Herald’s editorial because I’m an AEI lobbist? Yeah, it’s sad that I had to do that.

                      It’s a fact, little fella, you have censored my comments to this blog. You relented, but my first two comments never showed up.

                    • Jesse says:

                      Hey, your choice if you don’t want to believe that Akismet sometimes flags legit messages as spam. (I just caught and released one more that was buried, but that mystery fourth one seems to not exist. Go figure.) But you did set a great tone for future interactions by introducing yourself with false accusations and spurious legal threats. Might want to consider that acting like a jerk colored all future interactions. A polite “hey, my comments aren’t coming through, can you check it out” would have gone over a lot better.

  8. In any event, Jesse and Ludicrous would rather swap insults than make rational arguments, so I’m out here.

    Good luck with your boondoggle.

    • Jesse says:

      That “boondoggle” now issues bonds covered entirely by subscribers. And, shocking, they can get 30-35% take rates before issuing them without much challenge. As I said before, you have no “on the ground” experience with UTOPIA or Utah and are way out of your depth here.

  9. M says:

    Thanks for continuing to follow the UTOPIA developments, Jesse.

    For my own commentary, I bought a house in Orem a couple of years ago, a decision that was influenced by the house already having UTOPIA available AND connected. I decided to pay $2,750 up front to buy the line (as opposed a CUE loan or continuing the previous lease agreement). I now pay $37/month for Xmission’s 250mbps service. It’ll take about 7 years to break even compared to paying full ISP + Utopia network fees monthly (now ~$35 Utopia + ~$37 ISP), but I also anticipate it will add resale value to my home. And I can switch to gigabit speeds if I want.

    So far I’m VERY happy to support the network, even at the high up front cost – something I recognize not every resident could do. The technology/implementation is more stable than Comcast where I had previously rented (in a different part of Orem). It’s also much faster.
    For comparison’s sake, I get mailer ads from Century Link for 25mbps DSL for $30/month, or Comcast’s (full TV + internet + phone) for $90+/month. Of course, budgets are a concern for any resident, and I can respect that others may not want or need the levels of service I enjoy. Checking Comcast’s pricing for my zip code today, I see the following: $30/mo for 15mbps, $40/mo for 60mbps, $55/mo for 150mbps, and $70/mo for 250mbps. (Note that the last one is likely intentionally comparable to Utopia+Xmission pricing).

    It’s a real shame that the benefits of this technology and (government supported) infrastructure are not more widely enjoyed by Orem residents. Even more disappointing that it turns into such petty squabbling and misinformation from elected politicians and incumbents.

    I like the UTOPIA model WAY more than Google’s closed network – Xmission has been great, but I value the ability to change providers if I so desire… The technology and model are some of the reasons I chose to purchase the line – I put my money where my mouth is and I hope the UTOPIA network succeeds.

  10. Charles says:

    I can’t get utopia yet but I’m convinced their presence in Orem keeps Comcast inline. Maybe someday.

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