Drawing the line on UTOPIA

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  • Kevin M Lindon, UT
    Feb. 28, 2013 8:33 a.m.

    I live in Lindon because of two wonderful programs offered by the city: a secondary water system and next-generation Internet access.

    I lived in Lindon before Utopia and the only provider I could get was via dial-up connection. Since Lindon brought Utopia to my neighborhood, Comcast, Sprint, Quest and others are now (magically) ready and able to compete for my business.

    I just used speedtest.net to test the speed of my Utopia enabled Internet connection: 47.63 Mbps download; 42.59 Mbps. This speed, and the ability to call -- using my telephone -- anyone in the US for free, is an amazing benefit to living in my wonderful community.

    I don't dispute that UTOPIA has had management issues. And I don't blame government agencies for demanding accountability. Last night the Lindon City Council voted 3 to 2 in favor of temporary payment of the UTOPIA operational costs.

    I appreciate my City Council's cautious ongoing support of the Utopia system.

  • h0mieT orem, UT
    Feb. 27, 2013 11:34 a.m.

    What the heck is 29.6 mps? Internet is measured by Mbs or MBS. If he's saying 29.6Mbs I'm calling his bluff. I want to know what residential people get. Most reports have Utahans about about 5 to 8Mbs a second for download and 1Mb for upload. People forget that the upload is get as important now a days as the download. With Utopia you don't get gimmicks. You can the speed of light Fiber that doesn't congests when all your neighbors hop on, unlike Comcast and Centurylink(Qwest). I get 25Mb down and 25Mb up.(acutally my upload is more around 60Mb).

    People are upset that tax money is going to Utopia yet no one gets upset that the top dogs (comcast,time warner, Verizon, qwest) have been getting tax money for decades to expand fiber and give customers better service. They have completely failed to give anybody the speeds/durability they promised. There's no competition and no incentive to build better networks.

    Do I have to mention trying to get support from these companies? At least with Utopia my money goes to small Utah ISP companies and not to pay for support jobs in other countries.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Feb. 27, 2013 9:13 a.m.

    In 2004, the Lafayette utilities system decided to provide a fiber-to-the-home service. The new network, called LUS Fiber, would give everyone in Lafayette a very fast Internet connection, enabling them to lower their electricity costs by monitoring and adjusting their usage.

    From 2007 to mid-2011, people living in Lafayette saved $5.7 million on telecommunications services. It’s not free. Fiber connection costs $1,200 to $2,000 a house. It can take two to three years for revenue from any given customer to offset the upfront investment. But then the fiber lasts for decades. Municipal networks are seeing more than half of households adopt the service. And scores of communities are discovering that the networks bring new jobs.
    ("U.S. Internet Users Pay More for Slower Service," Bloomberg Dec 2012)

    Comcast is the worst! We had Comcast on the East Coast. For months there were lines hanging from trees above, crossing over our streets. Calls went unheeded. Recently while visiting family members in UT i saw the same thing--Comcast again.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Feb. 26, 2013 3:40 p.m.

    No, we don't have 5 options either. In Salt Lake you have 2 options, CenturyLink or Comcast. In the Utopia cities you also have Utopia as an option. And ya, CenturyLink and Comcast are terrible companies to deal with. You don't have any options if you want internet but to deal with one of these horrible, expensive companies.

  • Francis LeGuarde Sandy, UT
    Feb. 26, 2013 3:32 p.m.

    This editorial vastly oversimplifies the situation. Broadband access in Utah and the U.S. is better than it has been, but there are still significant problems. Utah's two primary Internet service providers are far from consumer friendly in cost, consistency, quality service, and customer service. I won't contest UTOPIA's poor management and other issues, but I would hardly prop up the U.S. telecommunications industry as a bastion of success. I'm confident there is, somewhere, a happy medium.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Feb. 26, 2013 2:56 p.m.

    Ok.... so help me out. If the average is 5 options, what are they? I get the cable company. I see the phone company... who are these 3 other viable options. Please don't tell me they are counting your cell phone hot spot as a viable answer. Does Utah residents really have 5 options..... if that were the case, I am truly envious.

    In NC, we have two. Verizon and Time Warner Cable. And no.... we don't get anything close to averaging 29.6. mbs speeds on average. Duke University... yes. IBM... of course. My company... SAS... yep. Your average business - no way. At home.... well depends on how deep your pockets are. TWC also throttles if you Netflix too much.

    I don't think broadband is a community asset - but the service providers are hardly being benevolent here either. Just recently on my bill I am not getting data usage readings.... which we all know is a precursor to billing by the bit. That feeling you have in your pockets is the broadband providers digging even deeper.

  • Shawnm750 West Jordan, UT
    Feb. 26, 2013 1:45 p.m.

    @JesseHarris - Neither the article nor the study said people were "elated" or "ecstatic" about their broadband service, it simply said "satisfied," which for most people surveyed probably means, "Yes it gets the job done, but I wish it cost less." And while your argument about there being limited options, the alternative offered by UTOPIA is hardly better. Their subscribers are so few partly because many of the people who live in member-cities A) Can't get access to it because after 10+ years, the infrastructure is still limited; or B) They don't know that they have access to it. I had high hopes for UTOPIA when it was first proposed, and chided the decision by then Mayor Rocky Anderson and the SLC council to not participate. Some would argue that contributed significantly to UTOPIA's woes, but given the poor management that's been driving it, I believe this project was doomed from the beginning. Unfortunately, most member-cities are in too deep now to cut their losses, so they're stuck paying for this behemoth. I applaud Murray and Tremonton for not paying anymore money in. Other cities should follow suit, and demand better results!

  • xckd123 ,
    Feb. 26, 2013 1:04 p.m.

    Article says speeds average to 29.6 mps... What? That doesn't mean anything. milli-per-seconds? Most of the time bandwidth is measured in Mbps (note the capital M denoting Mega and lowercase b denoting bits)

    Does the editor read the editorials?

  • JesseHarris Sandy, UT
    Feb. 26, 2013 11:49 a.m.

    Citing an incumbent-funded group like ITIF is hilarious. The American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) has consistently ranked telecom in dead last for at least a decade. People hate Comcast, they hate CenturyLink, and they hate having to pick between bad option A and bad option B. I'd be surprised if you can find more than a dozen people in your office who can react to either company with anything more enthusiastic than a "meh".

  • Pujols4mvp Lehi, UT
    Feb. 26, 2013 11:37 a.m.

    (I meant Internet speeds, of course, not "Interest").

  • Pujols4mvp Lehi, UT
    Feb. 26, 2013 11:08 a.m.

    "When residential and commercial connections are combined, the nation's average data rate was about 29.6 mps during the third quarter of 2012."

    Irrelevant. My home speeds have nothing to do with the speeds businesses get. I don't CARE what speeds businesses get. I want to know I can stream Netflix or whatever at home.

    Furthermore, one of the biggest issues these days regarding Interest speeds is the upload speed. More and more of our on-line activities will require a robust upload speed.

  • rogerdpack2 Orem, UT
    Feb. 26, 2013 10:25 a.m.

    I guess the original hope was that iProvo (which I believe sparked the idea for UTOPIA) would bring lots of tech sector jobs to Utah. I...don't believe this was successful, but who knows, maybe it was. That being said, the thing should be sold so the public can drop their losses.