UTOPIA creates needed competition

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  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 16, 2012 7:39 p.m.

    Having a multitude of vendors does not guarantee lower prices.

    Wichita Kansas (smaller than Salt Lake) at one time had more than 30 individual private residential trash hauler services. Every day several trash trucks came down the street where my relative lived. Each picking up trash from different houses. Rates varied but the average rate was more than I pay in Salt Lake County.

    The difference in rates was not always caused by competition, but by the location of the customer. The density of the neighborhood has an effect on the cost of the service. If you are the only house on the block, you would pay more than if you had a couple of dozen neighbors.

    The city would like to consolidate the trash effort but seems locked into not harming private enterprise.

  • Lifelong Republican Orem, UT
    Aug. 16, 2012 4:31 p.m.

    Just look at who funds the Utah "Taxpayers" association and you will see why they have been crying about UTOPIA for the last couple of years.

    Follow the money and answers will come.

  • communitynets St Paul, MN
    Aug. 16, 2012 2:14 p.m.

    Of the three options in this area of Utah for broadband, UTOPIA and iProvo represent decentralized planning compared to the massive centralized planning of CenturyLink and Comcast. Many of us would prefer a robust market of providers, but that is not the option. In broadband today, you can have local ownership, often of local governments, or you get some of the biggest bureaucracies in the country - massive cable and telephone companies.

    Just because it is the private sector doesn't mean it is efficient.

  • What in Tucket? Provo, UT
    Aug. 16, 2012 12:56 p.m.

    Utopia and Iprovo are nice examples of the failure of central planning. Elitists who become legislators and bureaucrats love to plan for the community. We see the same problem for Obama. He believe the government can do it better.

  • John C. C. Payson, UT
    Aug. 16, 2012 11:05 a.m.

    People may not like the government's way of providing services, but I prefer it to the services businesses provide when they are allowed to crowd out competition. Our first mistake was letting companies get away from proper regulation and true competition. Even if we had a more competitive market it is a legitimate function for governments to own important utilities. Voters still have a say in government choices, but corporations turn a deaf ear if open market competition isn't allowed to challenge them.

    Besides, I still live in the part of Payson that the Utopia cable hasn't reached yet, and I would love those screaming speeds.

  • communitynets St Paul, MN
    Aug. 16, 2012 10:37 a.m.

    UTOPIA's debt situation is not as related to their pricing as you might expect. Their prices are merely reasonable relative to the cost of providing the service whereas Comcast and CenturyLink have significant mark ups in most areas due to limited competition. The cost of delivering a bit declines every year (significantly) and yet they find ways to charge you more.

    As for the role of government, when the private sector utterly fails to build the infrastructure necessary for communities to succeed, then it IS the role of local governments to step in. That UTOPIA was originally mismanaged is unfortunate, but does not change the fact that local governments sometimes have to correct market failure. To do otherwise is to encourage your residents and businesses to move elsewhere.

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 16, 2012 9:45 a.m.

    Thank you Mr. Mitchell for your excellent educational article. Until reading it, I did not realize that it was the role of government to provide competition to private tax paying companies subsidized by massive public bonding. I would suppose that given the advantage of being non-taxed and with low cost bond financing to build their infrastructure, UTOPIA can offer significantly reduced prices for their services, which would result in reaching and hopefully far exceeding their enrollment projections. It is hard to understand why the state audit was unable to find these subscribers and the cities participating and their citizens are now on the hook to pay off the bond debt because UTOPIA does not have the money.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 16, 2012 9:37 a.m.

    The refusal to tell the truth about UTOPIA that makes it appear to be just another run of the mill scam on the taxpayers.

    UTOPIA is just another channel, an empty pipe, a public highway into our homes. And no better for our residential needs that the other highways into our homes. And after we pay for the highway, we will still have to pay for the businesses to use it. It is a business facility that business refuses to pay for themselves.

    If UTOPIA really had something the resident wanted and needed, private enterprise would be climbing all over themselves to provide it. The fact that private business is not willing to invest in it should be warning enough.

    The statement that businessmen would flee to other communities for UTOPIA is just about as truthful as when the Art’s promised economic gain from their cause. Business depends on the needs of consumers, though business is able to get concessions and bribes from local governments it is only the needs and wants of consumers that keeps a business going.

    Low taxes and small government? Get government out of business and business out of government.