WEST VALLEY CITY — The city has partnered with Ooma, a telephone service provider based in Palo Alto, California, to provide free phone service to Utah’s second-largest city upon completion of its fiber-to-the-house network.
“Basically we are announcing that if we build and when we build our fiber network, we will be making available and offering to all 40,000 households in the city for free telephone service,” city manager Wayne Pyle said.
If residents choose to use the Ooma telephone and basic Internet service provided, they would pay a $20 utility fee. The best deal Pyle could find for phone and Internet, he said, was $65 for a three-year deal.
“We are excited to be working with West Valley City to get our service to its residents,” Ooma CEO Eric Stang said. “West Valley City’s unparalleled initiative will not only save its (residents) money, it will allow them to stay connected in ways they cannot yet imagine.
Ooma uses voice over Internet protocol, called VoIP, for its service, so the city needs a fiber network.
“Wiring our entire community with world-class fiber to the home ensures that our residents will have unmatched access to all of the service that the network can provide,” Pyle said.
The city is working with Sydney-based Macquarie Capital Group. The company wants to finish building Utah’s fiber-optic network project UTOPIA, which has been plagued by inconsistent financing and construction.
The West Valley City Council is currently reviewing a proposal from Macquarie Capital Group on completing and operating the fiber network.
“I do believe that there’s a very good change that it will pass,” Pyle said. “I really, frankly, believe that the decision is going to rest on due diligence of whether this deal actually works from a financial, construction and operational — all those standpoints. The council is looking very diligently at this. They are accessing what this is really going to mean, but at the end of the day, if all of those things line up, I believe this actually going to happen.”
Pyle said it would take 30 months from the time a deal is reached to have the fiber laid out throughout the city.
The 11 cities that originally signed on with UTOPIA are Brigham City, Centerville, Layton, Lindon, Midvale, Murray, Orem, Payson, Perry, Tremonton and West Valley City. They have until June 27 to decide if they will opt in and continue exploring a partnership with Macquarie.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company