The name of the game is frustration. Residents in Brigham City are eager to see UTOPIA get deployed, but they’re a bit sour on the Real Soon Now(TM) deployment date, one they’ve heard and seen missed before. Many aren’t going to wait around forever, instead going for cable modem, DSL and even wireless or cellular connections to sate their high-speed cravings. Some have even gone so far as to use ISDN to move away from dial-up connections.
The problem is the uncertainty. Without certainty of a specific date and location of deployment, residents are willing to sign lengthy contracts with existing providers instead of holding out for UTOPIA service sometime in the future. I’m personally confident that Brigham and neighboring Perry will see the first homes and businesses lit by year’s end. That means little to residents that want to support UTOPIA but feel as if they have been left in the dark for far too long. There’s also still lingering questions on what the install fees will be, if any. Qwest and Comcast hammered UTOPIA on the possibility and that leaves residents spooked.
Still, it’s encouraging to see that residents are supportive of UTOPIA and are eager to see it come to town. What it will take now is walking the walk, hooking up services to subscribers, in order to win over the city.
U-CAN Meetings will be held this month in Brigham City and West Valley City. Due to the lengthy travel time involved in getting up to Brigham City, no meetings will be held this month in Utah or Davis Counties. The meeting in Brigham City will be held at the Brigham City Carnegie Library at 26 E Forest St and the West Valley meeting will be held at the Hunter Library at 4740 W 4100 S. As usual, all are encouraged to attend (even the resident mole from Frontier Communications).
UPDATE: In my haste to publish, I forgot to mention dates and times. WVC is on the 25th at 7PM and Brigham City is on the 27th at noon.
Today was the inaugural meeting of the UTOPIA Citizens Advisory Network or U-CAN for short. Attendance was about a dozen and we had some great conversations getting caught up on the status of UTOPIA and an idea of where it's going. Some highlights:
UTOPIA is looking at using Special Assessment Areas to expand services in non-member areas and unincorporated county lands. It's a voluntary tax increase in order to pay for deploying the network and doing the installation costs in a specified area that takes advantage of 15-year government bonds and the low interest rates they enjoy. The cost of installation will be assessed entirely to members of the SAA.
There's going to be some announcements soon on new service providers as soon as next week. Up to 4 could be announced over the next month and at least one is rumored to be interested in providing triple-play services.
Speaking of UTOPIA's website, they are working on a new one with more updates and information. This will also include a mapping application to show you where the demand for UTOPIA is so you can find out if your neighborhood is higher or lower on the priority list.
Meetings are going to be held at least monthly and will rotate between the member cities to give everyone an equal chance to participate. I'm also planning on provisional monthly meetings outside of this rotation for Davis, Salt Lake and Utah Counties to encourage better participation in pledging member cities. The regular monthly meetings will be as follows:
July 2008: Orem (Utah County)
August 2008: Layton (Davis County)
September 2008: Brigham City (Box Elder County)
October 2008: Murray (Salt Lake County)
November 2008: Lindon (Utah County)
December 2008: Centerville (Davis County)
I'll announce the meeting times and locations here on the website as they are scheduled. Meetings will be tentatively planned for the 4th Saturday of the month at noon. If you want to receive U-CAN related announcements via e-mail, send a blank message to firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the mailing list.