WEST VALLEY CITY— The eleven pledging cities of the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA; http://www.utopianet.org) are currently discussing options for the next stage of the network’s growth. After a string of successes since June of 2008, the open-access, fiber-to-the-premise network is strategizing on how to reach more homes and businesses sooner.
“In less than two years – since we retained the new management team – the network has added about 50% as many new subscribers as the network had gained since 2002, grown from three service providers to 12, and we’ve deployed fiber throughout Tremonton and Brigham City, and in portions of Layton and West Valley City,” says the UTOPIA board chair, Kane Loader of Midvale City. “The UTOPIA model is working, but we need to maintain this growth in customers.”
The new plan anticipates adding about 20,000 more customers over the next several years. “We’ve known for a long time that UTOPIA needs a much larger customer base, and a good mix of business and residential customers, to make the books balance,” says Murray Mayor Dan Snarr. “Our cities are already obligated to the network for years to come, so we need to grow to critical mass rapidly, based on a plan to ensure long-term financial health.”
“YouTube alone uses as much bandwidth as the entire World Wide Web did in 2000,” points out Layton Mayor Steve Curtis. “Bandwidth needs in the near future will be enormous, as Google recently acknowledged. We want to make sure our residents and businesses are thriving, and in a world with an increasingly digital economy, a clear factor will be access to the near-unlimited bandwidth of fiber to the premise. UTOPIA is needed by our communities more than ever.”
“A recent New York Times article stated that, without a commitment to open access, affordability for higher bandwidth is only going to get worse. We need to keep growing this fiber network to support local businesses and the private sector,” insists Orem Mayor Jerry Washburn. “Governments build roads, and allow FedEx and UPS to compete on them. Governments build airports, and allow Delta and Southwest to compete at them. It makes sense for us to build a fiber network, and allow any interested service provider to compete on it, which currently includes XMission, Telesphere, Voonami, Connected Lyfe, Brigham.net, and more.”
Under this next phase of growth, the eleven pledging cities would create a new bond and release funds incrementally as demand is demonstrated. Officials from Brigham City, Centerville, Layton, Lindon, Midvale, Murray, Orem, Perry, Payson, Tremonton and West Valley are working together with UTOPIA staff to finalize the funding plan.
UTOPIA – Elizabeth Vincent, 801.613.3837, email@example.com
Kane Loader, UTOPIA Board Chair, 801.567.7206