UTOPIA's never-ending trials

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  • WJDad West Jordan, UT
    June 19, 2014 4:32 p.m.

    samhill: Google Fiber requires similar guarantees of enough customers to make it worthwhile. The difference is that Google usually starts fresh with people excited, and builds to a neighborhood when a large enough percentage sign up to make it work. They also usually require public subsidies for the buildout, if only forcing other utilities to let Google use their poles.

    The Macquarie proposal seems like a good opportunity to use what has been started and make it work. The "sunk cost" so far isn't sunk--it still has to be paid for whether it is used or not. Why not use it?

  • WJDad West Jordan, UT
    June 19, 2014 4:32 p.m.

    clairc829: Who is responsible for basic infrastructure like the road to your house? It would have made my libertarian heart happy if a private enterprise had stepped up to the plate and provided this without government aid, but it just isn't economical without enough people signing up, or a utility bill such as this proposes.

  • WJDad West Jordan, UT
    June 19, 2014 4:31 p.m.

    Shawnm750: Precisely. Once the Comcast/CenturyLink duopoly have real competition they will start offering people some real service at realistic prices. Most likely, as was mentioned earlier, using the UTOPIA fiber. Comcast prices go down where there is someone else's fiber.

  • NedGrimley Brigham City, UT
    June 19, 2014 8:59 a.m.

    "But they might want to think back a decade or more and ask themselves how practical this scheme for social improvement has proven itself to be."

    I'm not necessarily a proponent or opponent of UTOPIA. However, I have to wonder how many comments of this type were made when electricity came to town years ago. Do you realize what it did to the kerosene lamp industry? ;)

  • Orem Parent Orem, UT
    June 18, 2014 9:39 p.m.

    I love my UTOPIA lightning fast internet. 60 GB up and down. $39 a month. Incredible. People don't know what they are missing.

  • Derek E. Lentz Murray, UT
    June 18, 2014 7:25 p.m.

    Will taxes really go up over time in those cities that have fiber optic internet? I don't think so, because cities that have Google Fiber or Utopia will attract more and more businesses and residents with lots of money who will want to live and work there, because they'll be able to get things done much faster with fiber optic internet, which will lead to lower taxes.

    Places with fiber optic internet available to every home will be the richest places in the world! Many fought water & sewer utility lines being put in many years ago, because they didn't realize how much it would benefit their communities. I hope enough people will begin to see how fiber optic internet will benefit their communities.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    June 18, 2014 7:22 p.m.

    As much as I would **love** to have the Internet accessibility promised by this proposal, the idea of having a mandatory tax/fee thrills me no more than the current mandatory tax/fee of Obamacare, and for the same reason. It is yet another encroachment on the realm of free enterprise and our general freedoms as citizens/human beings.

    In other words, it is another assault on freedom, something I love much more than even an inexpensive and fast Internet connection.

    There simply MUST be a better way of accomplishing the same thing via the free market. While Google is fast approaching the scope, influence and possibly even power of a government, their moves into this arena seem to be done without the draconian effect of a mandatory tax/fee. Any chance of Google Fiber stepping in?

  • clairc829 West Valley, UT
    June 18, 2014 5:59 p.m.

    Fiber optic is a wonderful way for internet to be delivered. The problem is it is not the cities responsibility to install and pay for it, never should have gotten involved. Member cities should cut their losses and run as fast as possible away, before they spend more of our dollars on something that will not work and is probably illegal, even for cities to do(charge for a service whether you use it or not). If the city managers were spending their money and not ours they would never have signed up for Utopia.

  • panamadesnews Lindon, UT
    June 18, 2014 5:43 p.m.

    What happens when a city opts into UTOPIA and later, after a lawsuit determines that it is unconstitutional to force its residents to pay the monthly fee/tax (whatever)? UTOPIA will be able to collect their fees from that city based on the contract, just like is happening in some of the cities, such as Lindon. There go more taxes out the window. This is scary. I wonder if UTOPIA has alreadu figured this out and is hoping some of the cities will bite on their offer. The more who do, the more money they will walk away with - and still no fiber-optic service!

  • Shawnm750 West Jordan, UT
    June 18, 2014 5:26 p.m.

    darthschmoo, while it's true that a fully functional UTOPIA internet service would be a better option than those being offered by private companies, what about those users already locked into contracts with Comcast or CenturyLink? They would either be forced to pay for both services, or pay a hefty cancellation fee. Not to mention that those services will probably come out with some enticing offers to keep member-city residents from dropping them.

  • darthschmoo Salt Lake City, UT
    June 18, 2014 12:59 p.m.

    I doubt anyone under the age of forty can think of Internet service as a "luxury," and $15-$20/month for basic Internet service is hardly unreasonable, especially for fiber optics that are easily a hundred times faster than cable or DSL.

    I'm looking at prices right now. CenturyLink wants $65/month, Xfinity (which used to be Comcast, until they realized that "Comcast" had become synonymous with "awful service, slow speed") wants $80/month (and wants to tie you into a bunch of TV channels you don't use). And don't even bother with mobile carriers. T-Mobil wants $50/month for a 7GB/month plan. You can get 7GB downloaded in a couple of minutes even on a bare-bones UTOPIA connection.

    Fiber optics is 21st-century infrastructure. If you have a better idea for bringing this technology to Utah, let's hear it. But if you think we can skate by on the antiquated, slow, expensive offerings of Xfinity, CenturyLink, or , you need to educate yourself.

  • darthschmoo Salt Lake City, UT
    June 18, 2014 12:39 p.m.

    Henry Drummond: No, it wouldn't put other providers "out of business." The most likely result if UTOPIA is successful: Comcast and CenturyLink would offer their services over UTOPIA, in competition against the other service providers which would spring up, all using UTOPIA as their underlying infrastructure.

    But Comcast and CenturyLink would rather stick with the existing system, where virtually everyone in the Salt Lake Valley has to choose between the two, because it's prohibitively expensive to lay new wires. Wireless is an option, of course, but not a great one. Wireless will never be able to compete with fiber optic on speed.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    June 18, 2014 11:55 a.m.

    I'm surprised at how many public officials are impressed by the "pro-forma income statement." This is typically a computer generated report that shows expected income from a project. Usually its presented by somebody who intones those magic words "and these figures are conservative - actual income will probably be much higher." Those who have been in the business world have a word for "pro-forma income statements." I won't mention that word since this is a family newspaper.

    I'm not sure how you salvage this project. If you look at it, the plan the new company has come up with would put other providers out of business because people don't want to pay twice for Internet Service.

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    June 18, 2014 10:32 a.m.

    Just say no.

    I'm highly doubtful Utopia will EVER be operational enough to even get to the break-even point.

    WHY keep throwing good money after bad?

    Its' pretty easy for the city leaders with their 6 figure incomes to commit ALL of us to $20.00 per month - for life, isn't it.

    Utopia is big mistake.

  • Fitz Murray, UT
    June 18, 2014 9:59 a.m.

    This concept of a city requiring residents to pay, even if they do not use the fiber from UTOPIA is flat wrong. It has been, and continues to be, a failure. It has emptied the pockets of citizens with no real success in reaching its intended goals. It is way past time that UTOPIA was buried.

    With the vote last election in Orem to not allow anymore taxes to support UTOPIA, what will the City Council and citizens do with this overreach fee?

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 18, 2014 9:05 a.m.

    When a businessman sells a product that he doesn't deliver he should be forced by government to refund the money to the buyer. Failing to do so should result in incarceration in criminal prison. Our national government in its role of protector of the general population should guarantee this for every sub government in the United States of America.