I received word from a reader that an engineer with Layton City has indicated that new UTOPIA construction in the city will be on hold for at least a year, possibly as long as two years. That’s right, up to two years without the men in work boots, that’s is going to retard progress. The existing fiber will be served, but new installs will now entirely depend on either developers or members of a special assessment area to foot the bill. The city blames the slow economy and lack of federal funding for the halt in construction. Given that the first tranches of broadband stimulus funding from the feds is meant for rural and underserved areas, I wouldn’t count on any federal assistance to get things moving anytime soon.
The Standard has an article on UTOPIA’s launch in Layton with some more details as to how things are going. UTOPIA reportedly is available in an 1800-home footprint in Layton and is up to a 20% take rate so far with 40% of visited homes taking service. There’s now reportedly more than 8,000 subscribers, not a big increase from numbers about a year ago (7200), but it has taken a few months post-financing to really pick up steam.
According to a flyer that a friend of mine received, Layton Mayor Steve Curtis and UTOPIA will be holding an Open House Tuesday, March 17th 2009 from 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM. Layton Mayor Steve Curtis and UTOPIA CEO Todd Marriott will be making brief comments at 11:00 AM. This open house will be held at the “Woody” Woodland Park, 1505 North 25 East, in Layton Utah.
Update: Just got ahold of this flyer, and it says “Please join us in welcoming UTOPIA to Layton. Come see the UTOPIA Mobile Command Center and enjoy a live demonstration of the incredible capabilities of the UTOPIA Network”.
Forum commenter mabuxton reports that they’re getting UTOPIA installed at their Layton home in just two weeks. XMission and two other providers (I’m guessing FuzeCore and Nuvont) are reportedly going to have residential service available in the area and you can sign up for the install right now. If you’ve been waiting with baited breath to get UTOPIA service in the city, now is the time to call!
The UTOPIA Citizens Advisory network will hold meetings this month in Warner Quinlan in Orlando, and an as-of-yet undetermined location in or near Lindon. Layton’s meeting will be held on Saturday August 23rd at noon in the Davis County Central Branch Library at 155 N Wasatch Dr. Taylorsville’s meeting will be held on Thursday August 21st at 7PM in the Taylorsville Library at 4870 South 2700 West. I’m tentatively planning on Lindon’s meeting being on Tuesday August 19th at 7PM, but finding free meeting space in Utah County is proving to be a bit of a challenge. Any suggestions for a venue would be appreciated.
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 email@example.com to get on the mailing list.