UTOPIA Posts Another New RFP

Rolling stones gather no moss and UTOPIA is barrelling down the hill. There’s a new RFP up on their website looking for fiber splicing and testing to tentatively begin in August. The RFP closes on August 1, so it looks like they’re sticking to an aggressive expansion strategy. Good news for those of you staring at dark fiber in your town!

UTOPIA Construction to Start in August, Just as Planned

Forum poster luminous has pointed out on the forums that UTOPIA has posted a new RFP to start construction again by August. This falls in line with the expectations set with city councils in April and May to waste no time in getting things rolling again. It's definitely good news that the project is meeting it's goals so far at this early stage of reorganization. If things keep up this way, residents of RUS cities will see service by this fall.

Clearwire Promises Open Network; Is This the Mythical Third Pipe?

Everyone was buzzing about the prospect of a wide-open network during the 700MHz auction (don't hold your breath on Verizon making good on it), but Clearwire is giving it to us now. The company, a joint venture with Sprint, Comcast, Time Warner and others, is promising open everything on its new WiMax network. Bring your own device? Check. Use any application? Check. Pick your own retailer? Check, and that's the real measure of the open network.

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Centerville Forming UTOPIA Oversight Committee

Centerville is taking a proactive role in making sure UTOPIA's health stays under close watch by forming an advisory committee composed of both residents and city officials. The city council is currently accepting applications from residents who are interested in participating and the word on the street is that three will be chosen to help provide feedback on UTOPIA and participate in promotional efforts. If you're interested in serving on the committee, contact your city council member. If you don't get selected, there's still going to be plenty of opportunities through U-CAN. 

Todd Marriott Named New UTOPIA Executive Director

As unveiled at the meeting in Payson, Todd Marriott was named as the new Executive Director of UTOPIA today. I had suspected it from the moment they introduced him at one of the earlier meetings and it's exciting to have someone with sales savvy and a passion for open networks take the helm to lead UTOPIA in a sorely-needed new direction. I can't find much about him online other than a stint with CityLink Networks in Fruit Heights, but he seems to really know his stuff. Here's to hoping things get back on track.

Off Again, On Again: Payson to Reconsider Vote on New UTOPIA Bonds

After more waffles than you'd see in an Eggo plant, Payson has decided that they need to rethink their vote on the new UTOPIA bonds after being the lone hold-out. The city council will meet Monday May 12 at 6PM to reconsider backing the new UTOPIA bonds, a move that's eerily reminiscent of their "no we aren't, yes we are" vote on joining in the first place. The meeting will be held at 439 W. Utah Ave. and it's unknown if additional public comment will be heard. For good measure, supporters in the area should do their best to show up anyway.

I 'll be there, though it's going to be back-to-back with the iProvo open house the same night so I could be a few minutes late.

h/t: Jens Dana from the DMN. Had he not said anything to me on the phone tonight, I might not have heard about it until I was on my way to Zion Nat'l Park for a well-deserved vacation.

BREAKING: Murray Approves New UTOPIA Bonds 4-1

Less than an hour ago, Murray's City Council approved the new UTOPIA bonds by a vote of 4-1 with Council Member Pat Griffiths casting the lone dissenting vote. This paves the way for the new bonds to be in place by June 1. Rumor has it that Payson will be making a last-minute vote to reconsider now that all of the other cities have approved the new bonds.

Now that all of the votes are over and done with, I'll be taking some time next week to go over my notes from all of the meetings and try and give a more complete picture of where the network is at and where it is going. That might not be entirely necessary as the rumor mill says that UTOPIA will be re-launching their website by June 1 and will update it frequently. 

Opinion Piece in the Daily Herald

This opinion piece is adapted from my more in-depth analysis of the situation with iProvo and was published in today's Daily Herald.

I had the opportunity to attend the inaugural meeting of the iProvo Review Committee and walked away with a significant amount of new data including copies of the reports from CCG Consulting and Franklin Court Partners. After digesting where the network is and where it is going, I can come to only one conclusion: iProvo is a valuable city asset with the potential to save city departments and residents millions of dollars every year.

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BREAKING: Orem Approves New UTOPIA Bonds By Unanimous Vote

After almost 2 hours of discussion and questions, the Orem City Council voted 6-0 to approve the new UTOPIA bonds and move forward with the new plan for the network. This leaves Murray as the last city to vote on the issue and all signs there point to yes. With only Payson refusing to sign off, this means that the new bonds will likely go through as originally envisioned and the RUS cities could be on the network in as little as 8 weeks after the financing comes through.