Qwest Threatens New UTOPIA Lawsuit, Wants to Block Centerville RDA Funds

Qwest’s business model should be “If you can’t beat ’em, sue ’em.” The Davis County Clipper reports that America’s least competent incumbent is threatening Centerville with a lawsuit if they decide to move forward with their plan to use RDA funds to build out UTOPIA. Qwest’s accusations are, natually, light on specifics and big on puffery. Maybe Qwest should take some cues from Comcast and try competing instead of litigating its way to success.

Centerville Mulls Using RDA Money to Expand UTOPIA

The David County Clipper reports that Centerville is thinking about using redevelopment agency funds to push UTOPIA construction in their city. The idea, which is in very early stages, is to use the presence of the network as a lure for high-tech companies. Nothing in final, but this presents a unique way for cities to expand UTOPIA using an existing funding mechanism.

UTOPIA Update Planned in Centerville

The City of Centerville has posted a memo on their website that they expect an update from UTOPIA Executive Director Todd Marriot at the city council meeting on November 5. Council meetings are typically held at 7PM in the city council chambers at 250 N Main St. Anyone looking to glean some more information on what UTOPIA is up to should be at this meeting.

(And UTOPIA guys? Hook me up with your meeting schedule so that curious supporters like me know in advance. I stumbled across this while looking for something unrelated. Seriously.)

Report From the Initial Meeting of U-CAN

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.
  • The new bond closed in late May as planned, so we may yet see construction by August. The UTOPIA website is actively soliciting new employees, a Business Sales Director and Teams Coordinator, as well as an RFP for asset management software and 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 ucan-announce-subscribe@freeutopia.org to get on the mailing list.