I’ve had several people now express concern over recent bankruptcy filings in other states by Prime Time Communications. More than a few people seem to be dedicated to fear-mongering that the entire company is about to fold. Unfortunately for the rumor mill, that’s entirely untrue. Here’s what’s really happening.
When a construction company starts a new housing development, the first thing they do is file a brand new LLC to isolate it from the rest of the company operations. This is to help prevent any liability from one project spilling over into other projects. In case one development fails miserably, the parent company can fold the single LLC without damaging the rest of the company. It’s pretty standard (and smart) practice.
Prime Time Communications does the same thing. When they contract to provide service to a new greenfield community, they isolate the operations into an LLC in case the housing project doesn’t quite pan out. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last two plus years, you know that the housing market is, uh, “underperforming” (read: it crashed). Naturally, some of the projects that Prime Time was working on were in that mix. Rather than continue to incur losses on housing projects that had failed, the parent company chose to fold those LLCs through the bankruptcy process. So far, this has had no effect on the parent company or on any of the unrelated LLCs, including the one that provides service on UTOPIA.
Now someone out there seems to have an agenda in mind to confuse the facts and omit some of these critical parts of the story. If it’s you, knock it off. FUD doesn’t help anyone.
The City Council in Brigham City will be holding a final vote on the UTOPIA SAA on Thursday December 10 at 7PM. This vote will determine if the SAA will move forward or not. Ahead of this, the Utah Taxpayers Association has decided to start up a campaign of disinformation to try and get residents against it. The following mailer was sent out to all residents of Brigham City (no doubt at a considerable cost to the UTA).
UTA Postcard Side A
UTA Postcard Side B
In their usual style, it purposefully misrepresents the SAA and plays loose with the facts. Here’s a few highlights.
- Before UTOPIA came to town, private companies would not invest in Brigham City. Both Comcast and Qwest refused to provide broadband service to residents despite repeated requests from the city to do so. After Brigham City joined UTOPIA, both companies started to roll out services. Chasing away private capital indeed.
- Sure, your house could be sold at a foreclosure sale if you fail to pay your part of the opt-in SAA. The same thing happens when you fail to pay your property taxes, your mortgage, or any other expense associated with owning a house or taking a loan out against it. Yet, for some reason, the UTA doesn’t seem to think those items are unfair. Nice spin, guys, but not paying your bills will, surprise, result in consequences. No duh.
- The UTA has purposefully inflated and misrepresented the city’s share of the expenses associated with the SAA. Brigham City has chosen to pay to hook up all city buildings with UTOPIA service. That accounts for well over half of the money the UTA is talking about and provides a legitimate service to the city. It is also entirely unknown what costs, if any, the city will have to carry for the bond to go through. This is because it depends entirely upon the number of people who sign up. Unless the UTA has some kind of magic crystal ball that I don’t (which I seriously doubt), they’re just making crap up. Again.
- The UTA is actually calling it a negative point that you’re paying $25 and don’t get service included at that price. I hate to break this to them, but there isn’t a provider on earth that would provide even a single part of a triple play for just $25/mo., at least not without line subsidies (like Qwest and the USF). This is just a nonsensical argument. It’s like complaining that the taxes you pay for roads don’t include a car.
- The UTA also points out that the money from the sale of your home will be used to pay off the costs of the SAA. Again, duh? What, does someone expect that the bond magically disappears because you sold your house? It’s another nonsense argument.
The flier is nothing more than a pathetic attempt to derail a project with significant community involvement and backing. The UTA isn’t looking out for taxpayers; they’re covering for their members. Let Brigham City’s residents spend their money how they want to, m-kay?