SB112 Fails in the Senate

SB112, the bill that would give cable companies a large tax advantage in the state of Utah, died on the Senate floor today in a 12-16 vote. While this doesn’t guarantee that a modified version of the bill won’t come back up for discussion, it seem less likely as the $7M price tag was a bit too much for the Senate to swallow. I think we can safely consider this one dead and buried for this session.

1Wire Goes Residential with SumoFiber

UTOPIA has added a new residential provider to the network via existing commercial provider 1Wire. SumoFiber will be offering 50M/50M, 100M/100M, and 1G/1G Internet and unlimited phone. Given the prices, I assume they are before the UIA costs are added in, but it’s still pretty competitive.

The good news about this addition is that it’s coming from a company with a performance record. UTOPIA has increased standards significantly for new and existing providers to try and prevent the kinds of problems we saw with Mstar and their resulting trail of wreckage. If anyone signs up for service, let us know how they do.

(Thanks to reader David for pointing out the addition.)

Confirmed: Infowest to Provide Residential Service

I’ve had it confirmed that Infowest, currently a commercial provider, will be participating on UTOPIA as a residential provider as part of the new UIA expansion push. Given that Prime Time, Connected Lyfe, and Fuzecore have all had to bow out for one reason or another, it’s good to know that there will be more options for residential customers who join the network in the future. I’m pretty sure they’ll offer voice and data, but no word on video options.

If you have any experience with Infowest, leave it in the comments.

UTOPIA Starts Construction Season

After many, many months of inaction, UTOPIA is finally starting to move some more fiber into the ground starting with Centerville. This is the start of wiring up anchor institutions using the federal broadband grants, money that should touch most member cities. It won’t get the fiber all the way to your house, but it will wire schools, hospitals, libraries, and other government buildings which will make hooking up neighborhoods much easier and cheaper.

So what do you need to do to get service when it rolls by near you? Go to UTOPIA’s website and register your interest. They will be using those registrations to identify places to market to. If your city is part of the UIA, you’ll be able to get the install cost rolled into your monthly fees. If your city is not part of the UIA or is not a UTOPIA member city, you need to go talk to your city council to get that fixed.

A Better Way to Find UTOPIA Coverage

One of the long-standing complaints with UTOPIA has been a lack of data and, to be honest, it’s a fair criticism (and one I share). At the top of the list is trying to figure out just where the heck service is actually available. Thanks to the Utah Broadband Project, we now know. Just select UTOPIA from the list of providers and you’ll know which census blocks the service is actually available on. Naturally, it doesn’t mean that every house has an existing connection, but it gives you a much better idea than just “somewhere in the city”.

UTOPIA on the Way to Centerville

Yeah, I know, you’ve heard it before. This time, though, UTOPIA has a sack full of federal dollars to financing building out the middle-mile infrastructure in Centerville. Does this mean service in your neighborhood? Not entirely. The construction will get as far as the substations in the city, but getting it into your house means getting enough of your interested neighbors to sign up for service via the new UIA plan.  Jog on over to UTOPIA’s interest form and get your name on the list to be notified if/when they’re ready to build out your neighborhood.

Read more from the Clipper.

BREAKING: UTOPIA Scores $16.2M in Stimulus Funding

The Obama Administration announced today a new round of broadband stimulus funding that includes $16.2M for UTOPIA. That money can go a really long way towards deploying more of the network in UTOPIA’s footprint and can, at the average install cost, cover around 5400 additional homes. UTOPIA plans to hold an event at the state capitol tomorrow at 10AM to explain the details.

Source: (warning: PDF)

h/t: Stimulating Broadband

Press Release: National provider PAETEC joins the UTOPIA network

WEST VALLEY CITY – August 10, 2010 – The Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA; today announced that PAETEC ( is that most recent service provider to join the fully-fiber, open access network. PAETEC offers business-class customers a comprehensive suite of data, voice, and IP services, as well as enterprise communications management software, network security solutions, and managed services. PAETEC serves over 84 of the top 100 Metropolitan Statistical Areas and has customers in all 50 states.

“We’re thrilled to have our first national provider join the network,” says Todd Marriott, UTOPIA’s executive director. “They have a solid reputation for value-add offerings and value-add service. Their unmatched quality in markets across the country will also be a tremendous benefit to customers on the UTOPIA network. And their decision to join the UTOPIA network is great validation of the improvements and growth we’ve seen over the last two years. The addition of PAETEC’s services to our already robust lineup is proof that open fiber networks just keep getting better – providing quality products and new, innovative services from scores of great providers.”

“PAETEC is the premier alternative to the incumbent telephone and cable companies, based on our nationwide footprint, breadth of products, and quality of service. And we’re excited to expand that footprint with UTOPIA,” says Arunas A. Chesonis, PAETEC’s CEO. “We’ve seen dynamic growth since we were found in 1998 because we believe in basic values – providing unmatched cost-effective solutions and first-rate customer service. There are many reasons why customers initially select PAETEC; however, the relationship established is what keeps them with us. UTOPIA has these same values and we’re excited to expand our offerings to more Utah customers.”

Today’s announcement makes PAETEC the 12th provider on the UTOPIA network. UTOPIA connects fiber directly to customers’ homes and businesses, allowing them to receive unmatched clarity and speed without interruptions from copper wiring and shared connections with neighbors.

Want the fastest broadband in Utah? Brigham City has you covered

Ookla, the company responsible for running, has recently released new results on the state of broadband speeds around the world and Brigham City has taken the top spot in Utah by a wide margin. Their average speed of 20.59Mbps handily bests second-place Pleasant Grove by almost 60%. Considering that over a third of the city accesses the Internet using a UTOPIA service provider, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise; almost all of the increase has been in the somewhat recent future. Neither is it surprising that two of the top three ISPs (as ranked by speed) are UTOPIA providers Xmission and Integra Telecom.

I think the moral of the story is crystal clear: if you want top-notch Internet service, get UTOPIA.

Rally Fail: UTOPIA Hijacks Utah Taxpayers Association Event

The Utah “Taxpayers” Association thought it would get an upper hand with a BBQ in Orem just before the city council voted on a new construction bond. Unfortunately for them, the plan backfired when UTOPIA made a surprise appearance at the event with their “mobile command center” and started actually talking directly with the meeting attendees, many of whom had no opinion of UTOPIA yet and came to get more information. According to my sources, about half of the 250 or so attendees ended up registering their interest in UTOPIA services, a major coup for the network that upstaged their most vocal opponent.

Apparently what convinced a lot of the undecideds was the UTA’s refusal to disclose who pays their bills. That lack of transparency translated directly into looking like they have something to hide (hint: it’s Qwest and Comcast dollars) and left many looking at their fantastic claims skeptically. I’d like to say that there were some talking points to address, but an eyewitness account called it so much kool-aid drinking, a series of incomprehensible rants filled with insinuation, innuendo, insults, and no concrete addressable facts. In contrast, UTOPIA discussed their new business plan with individual residents and offered demonstrations of how well the service can work. Truth has power and it wasn’t on the UTA’s side.

In attendance were Rep. Mike Morley, UTA VP Royce Van Tassell, UTA President Sen. Howard Stephenson, Rep. Steve Sandstrom, and Sen. Margaret Dayton (who did not speak). UTOPIA openly challenged both Stephenson and Van Tassell to provide outside oversight of their plan, an offer which they declined to accept. Considering that the UTA regularly chides UTOPIA for mismanagement and secrecy, I would think they’d jump at the chance to look at things from the inside. If nothing else, they could fabricate some juicy new attacks from half-truths. This says a lot about the true motivations of the Utah “Taxpayers” Association. If they really wanted to keep an eye on UTOPIA for the benefit of all taxpayers, why would they turn this down?

Please, UTA, consider holding more of these events. As many as you want. You come out looking like fools and UTOPIA gains even more customers and mindshare. I’ll even volunteer for the dunk tank.

Also, see coverage from the Deseret News and Daily Herald. Bonus: I’ve got about a paragraph in the Herald article.

As a side note, I saw it reported that the connections on the new plan will be $50/mo plus service, but I don’t know if that’s accruate and haven’t gotten a reply to an e-mail I sent Monday seeking clarification. It’s also unclear how much a service provider tacks on top of that if that is the case, though it had better be well south of $20/mo for Internet. You’ll know more when I do.