Mayors of 6 cities plan to put UTOPIA proposal on November ballot

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SALT LAKE CITY – Mayors from six cities announced plans Wednesday to put a question regarding internet service as a utility on the ballot in November.

The UTOPIA project began about 10 years ago as a way to offer high speed internet in eleven cities, but high costs and low sign up numbers have meant the network has never functioned at the rate it was intended to.

Mayors from Brigham City, Layton, Midvale, Perry, Tremonton and West Valley City plan to give voters in their cities the option to vote in November to pay for the service as a utility. The move would be part of a deal with a venture capital firm seeking to take over the network.

Five other cities–Centerville, Lindon, Murray, Orem and Payson–have all so-far opted out of the deal.

Related story:
Utah Taxpayers Association questions legality of UTOPIA deal

12 comments

  • Bob

    The plan would obligate every home to an initial $20 a month fee (that would have a percentage increase each year) for the next 30 years – whether you use Utopia or not. In 30 years that method of transmission will be as antique as eight-track tapes.

    • FIBER!

      That’s not true BOB. The fiber itself is considered “future proof”, the equipment on either end will be upgraded every so often. But the expensive part, the fiber and putting it into the ground won’t have to be redone until they find something that transmits information faster than the speed of light. Even then they’ll just have to pull it through the existing conduit while we are all laying in our graves. This is a great investment for the 6 cities and will attract residents and businesses from all over to their cities and will create a revenue flow to pay down the bonds that have been issued. It will also break up the monopoly that Comcast and Century Link have on the market and will force them to lower their prices and actually provide some customer service for a change. Don’t let the UNOPIA Campaign full you, that has been exposed as Centurylink funded effort at spreading misinformation to residents as Century Link knows if this goes through it will hurt their revenue.

      • Bob

        Why should dear old granny have to pay $240 a year for something she doesn’t want. Why should my neighbor John Smith have to pay $240 a year for something else when he is another provider?

      • FIBER!

        Old Granny should have some interest in helping to better her community and lay a foundation for her children and grandchildren after she’s gone. If she can’t afford it there is a part of the agreement that allows those that can’t to apply and not have to pay it. Ole’ John Smith will be ecstatic when his provider has to drop his current rates to something comparable to what the fiber will offer so they don’t lose him as a customer.

      • Bob

        Perhaps I’m mistaken but won’t Ole’ John Smith still have to fork out $20 a month for a something he isn’t going to use?

      • Bob

        Is there a monthly cap on the amount of data a user can get with UTOPIA? What will be the surcharge for exceeding that data cap?

      • FIBER!

        Yeah, he still will… but I would guess that Comcast/Centurylink will update their pricing to ensure that equals out or people will cancel their service. Or gasp… Comcast/Centurylink might finally accept the offers that have been on the table for years to join the network and provide their service over it.

      • FIBER!

        You don’t get the actual service from UTOPIA. All UTOPIA provides is the fiber lines. It’s kind of like how the state of Utah built Salt Lake International and then allows airlines to use the airport to provide flights in and out of it. The service (internet, phone & video) is provided by one of the Service Providers on the network. Xmission, Sumo, Veracity, Infowest are a few of those providers. They have agreed to provide a 3 MBPS Up & 3 MBPS down service with a 20 GB cap for the $20 utility. West Valley City has struck a deal with OOMA to also provide free phone service with the utility fee as well.
        20 GB isn’t a ton of you stream a lot of music, movies, etc.. but they will have plans that allow you to upgrade to faster speeds and higher data caps. But they haven’t revealed the pricing for those yet or what any overage fees might be, but they are supposed to be revealed in the next milestone. Right now as an Xmission customer with my 100/100 service I have a 1 terabyte cap for $35 a month and haven’t even come close to hitting that.

  • Bob

    Sounds like another version of Obamacare. Citizens being forced to pay for something they may not want or need.

  • Bob

    UTOPIA’s “availability fee” will entitle consumers to only three megabytes per second of bandwidth. They originally promised one gigabyte per second, and a monthly cap of 20 gigabytes. Should be enough to watch five or six high-definition Netflix movies. This compares to the 12 to 15 Mb/s available for $50 to $60 a month, with unlimited data, from most cable companies. AT&T’s U-Verse and Verizon’s FiOS offer faster connections.

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