Utah

 

Orem candidates talk referendum, taxes, UTOPIA (Daily Herald) August 2, 2013

There is nothing as predictable as death and taxes. Orem is no exception. The fact is, Orem’s city property taxes have not been raised since 1978, and city officials are saying that if the city wants to continue providing services, it’s time to raise taxes. Voters will have the opportunity to decide in November if they go up. The opportunity came because some residents, including a number of candidates, petitioned for a referendum to be on the ballot.

Survey ranks Utah tops in West for broadband internet speeds (Salt Lake Tribune) July 29, 2013

The next time you’re streaming “House of Cards” on Netflix without a hiccup or waiting for the show to buffer, be thankful you live in Utah.

Google Fiber closes deal to acquire iProvo Network (DSL Broadband Reports) July 23, 2013

Back in April Google announced they’d be expanding their $70 for symmetrical 1 Gbps Google Fiber service into Utah. Unlike other Google Fiber launch locations however, they’ve gotten a leg up on construction by buying the existing iProvo municipal fiber network.

Why fiber? A review of UTOPIA (Daily Herald) July 21, 2013

Why Fiber?

That question tops the Orem city website and is on the lips of residents and business owners throughout the city. Some are for it, some are against, and some have no clue about it. But no one can get past the fact that UTOPIA, and its fiber, is the number one issue in this year’s city elections.

UTOPIA exec says bailing on money-losing network not right course (Salt Lake Tribune-Video) June 4, 2013

Although the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency, also known as UTOPIA, is losing at least $200,000 per month on its ultra-fast Internet network, the company’s executive president said Tuesday that just quitting and cutting its losses is not an option.

Provo Googled its way out of fiber optic network but costs live on (Salt Lake Tribune) June 2, 2013

Provo » Mayor John Curtis knew the moment he took office in January 2010 that iProvo would be his biggest headache.

City Hall considers a ‘broadband roadmap’ for Park City (Park Record) May 14, 2013

City Hall is considering a “broadband roadmap” as technology in the community advances. It is not known what would be included on such a map, but Park City leaders are preparing to discuss the idea of widening broadband technology or high-speed Internet service.

Does Google Fiber’s iProvo move spell doom for open access? (Fierce Telecom) May 9, 2013

In mid-April, amid the celebratory back-slapping that was going on in Austin after Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) announced it as the next city to receive its fiber blessing, the Internet search giant made another surprising announcement: it was purchasing iProvo, a municipal broadband network in Utah, for $1.

Orem’s biggest problem is UTOPIA (Deseret News-Guest Opinion) May 1, 2013

You could almost hear the sigh of relief in Provo on the afternoon of April 17 when they announced Google Fiber is taking over iProvo. The most exciting part is that Provo will not own the network and will be finally, after several tries, out from under the burden of maintaining and upgrading it.

Provo city council approves Google Fiber deal at greater cost than originally planned (Deseret News) April 25, 2013

…Provo officials revealed Tuesday that it will cost the city an estimated $1.7 million to get the system built in 2004 ready for the handover. The money will come from an existing fund that had been set aside to upgrade the system eventually, said Provo deputy mayor Corey Norman. That means it will require no new money from taxpayers in the city of 115,000 about 45 miles south of Salt Lake City.

CenturyLink whines about Google Fiber in Utah – Uses sleazy tactics for a decade (DSL Broadband Reports) April 25, 2013

As we noted last week when Google Fiber announced they were expanding into Provo, Utah, the deal is particularly bad news for CenturyLink, who, after a decade of pampered monopoly privilege and regulatory capture in the SouthWest, is nowhere close to being able to match Google speeds. For years (under the Qwest brand) the company has bullied local municipal fiber builds in Utah, crushed all local competition, then provided sub standard broadband services that in many cases can’t provide users with anything faster than 3 Mbps.

CenturyLink protests Google Fiber’s move into Provo (Fierce Telecom) April 24, 2013

Google Fiber may have officially got the green light from Provo’s city council to purchase the iProvo network, but it’s now facing a protest from area incumbent telco CenturyLink.

Provo council OKs sale of fiber optic network to Google, will spend $1.7M to prepare handover (The Republic) April 24, 2013

…Provo officials revealed Tuesday that it will cost the city an estimated $1.7 million to get the system built in 2004 ready for the handover. The money will come from an existing fund that had been set aside to upgrade the system eventually, said Provo deputy mayor Corey Norman. That means it will require no new money from taxpayers in the city of 115,000 about 45 miles south of Salt Lake City….

How likely is it that Google Fiber takes over UTOPIA? (Free UTOPIA!) April 22, 2013

Even before Provo announced that Google Fiber would be taking over iProvo, there’s been a lot of speculation that Google Fiber could potentially take over UTOPIA. UTOPIA made their pitch with 1100 other cities, and I produced my own video explaining why a partnership would be a good deal for both parties. Since then, Google has drastically altered the original terms of the arrangement, throwing both open access and municipal involvement under the bus (unless you consider providing tons on concessions “involvement”). Despite Google and UTOPIA being in talks shortly after the RFI closed, I don’t think we’re likely to see any kind of takeover or partnership between the two unless there’s concessions from one or both sides.

Google Fiber in Utah: Why Provo sold its $39 million internet service to Google for just $1 (International Business Times) April 19, 2013

…For starters, this isn’t a simple sale. Google will take over Provo’s fiber network and improve upon it as soon as the acquisition is official — even before Google Fiber can rev up in Austin — which will reportedly cost Google about $30 million. But Google will also take over Provo’s remaining construction loans, which reportedly need to be paid for another dozen years at the very least, according to the official agreements released by city officials on Thursday.

Google’s iProvo purchase draws fire from Utah-based XMission (Fierce Telecom) April 22, 2013

Google Fiber’s move to acquire iProvo, a Utah-based municipal fiber to the home (FTTH) network, for $1 is facing criticism from an independent ISP, XMission, which said the city is giving Google the ability to become a monopoly.

Area UTOPIA cities feel vindicated by Provo’s deal with Google (Standard Examiner) April 21, 2013

UTOPIA member cities in the Top of Utah say the recent announcement that Provo will become the third Google Fiber city in the U.S. validates their investments in the broadband fiber-optic network the last 11 years

Rescuing iProvo (Deseret News-Opinion) April 19, 2013

There may come a time when household fiber-optic Internet connections are as basic as water and sewer service, but that is likely to happen only as a result of significant private investment, like the kind Google has chosen to make in the city of Provo.

Google buying $39 million fiber system in Utah for a $1 (Free State Foundation) April 18, 2013

Even as Google takes ownership of the municipal network, Provo will have to pay off loans for its construction for another dozen years, according to agreements released Thursday by city officials.

Google Fiber rescues Provo; what about UTOPIA (Deseret News-Perspectives) April 18, 2013

UTOPIA has reacted to Google’s decision to take over Provo’s public fiber optic network by touting it as a vindication of its own business model. It “validates the vision our member cities have been working toward…” a statement on the consortium’s web site says.

Google Fiber headed to Provo (Washington Post) April 17, 2013

…Google said it has agreed to purchase an existing fiber-optic network there called iProvo. As part of the acquisition, Google will commit to upgrading the network to enable every home currently connected to iProvo to access Fiber’s network.

Google Fiber takes on new challenge: Obtaining al already existing system (San Jose Mercury News) April 17, 2013

Google taking over city fiber optic network in Provo (WRAL Tech Wire) April 18, 2013

Google plans to set gigabit speed fiber in Provo (PC World) April 17, 2013

Google looking to expand super fast fiber service to Provo (Los Angeles Times) April 17, 2013

Google Fiber bringing free, faster internet to Provo (Red Bluff Daily News-Salt Lake Tribune) April 18, 2013

Speed matters – Google Fiber brings one-gig internet to Provo (Daily Herald) April 18, 2013

Google will purchase the beleaguered fiberoptic network from the city. Right now, the city owns iProvo and Veracity Communications runs it. For a time Veracity was the owner, but the company could not make the bond payments and transferred it back to the city. Google will take over all fiber operations by the end of this process, although the bond payments are still the onus of the city.

Google Fiber coming to Provo – company will buy iProvo assets (DSL Broadband Reports) April 18, 2013

Google this afternoon officially confirmed that they’ll be bringing Google Fiber to Provo, Utah. According to an announcement sent to reporters and a blog post, Provo was selected because it’s the home of hundreds of tech companies and startups. The fact it already had a ton of fiber in the ground courtesy of previous municipal fiber deployments certainly helped; Google says they’ll be buying the deployed fiber to the home assets of iProvo pending city council approval on April 23.

Provo to get Google Fiber (CivSource) April 17, 2013

Google Fiber has announced a third city will get its ultra high-speed broadband service. Provo, Utah is set to become the next Google Fiber city. The announcement follows one made last week that Austin, Texas would join Kansas City as a Google Fiber city. In Provo, Google will take over that city’s municipal network, reflecting the company’s recent activist stance on viable municipal networks…

…The Provo network represents a first for Google, in that it will basically be acquiring an existing network instead of starting from scratch as it did in Kansas City. The network was originally called iProvo, and backed by the city but was eventually turned over to private providers. According to Google’s official blog post on the Provo network, they want to help the city build on its already rich tech sector.

Google Fiber to take on Comcast in Provo (April 17, 2013

Google said Wednesday afternoon that it plans to expand its Google Fiber service to Provo, Utah, where it would compete with incumbent cable MSO Comcast.

Executive of troubled UTOPIA sees hope in Google Fiber deal (Salt Lake Tribune) April 17, 2013

The head of Utah’s other municipally run fiber-optic Internet network, UTOPIA, said Wednesday’s news that Google Fiber is coming to Provo is “music to our ears.”

Google fiber bringing free, faster internet to Provo (Salt Lake Tribune) April 17, 2013

Provo will be the third metropolitan area in the country to get the much-desired fiber-optic Internet network known as Google Fiber.

In an announcement scheduled for today at the Utah Valley Convention Center, Mayor John Curtis and representatives of Google said they’ve reached an agreement in which the existing city-owned fiber-optic network known as iProvo would be sold to Google and turned into Google Fiber.

Murray Council votes no new UTOPIA funding (Murray Journal) March 13, 2013

In a 4 to 1 vote, the Murray City Council shut down a request from the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency for $168,000 to cover operational costs. UTOPIA was denied additional funding after council members and residents expressed concern about giving the financially-challenged organization more money.

What Orem did for UTOPIA (Salt Lake Tribune-Guest Opinion) March 9, 2013

Last month, The Salt Lake Tribune reported on actions taken in Orem regarding next steps for UTOPIA, the fiber-optic network backed by 11 member cities. The purpose of the Feb. 26 meeting, which was properly noticed as a discussion, not a public hearing, was for the City Council to receive information about UTOPIA and provide direction to the city’s voting representative on the UIA (Utah Infrastructure Agency) board.

Mountainland Association of Governments more efficient with UTOPIA (UTOPIA Net) March 5, 2013

…Mountainland, based in Orem, has been on the UTOPIA network since 2011; the motivation for the switch was because they could “piggyback on the UDOT network which we needed,” says Andrew Wooley, IT director. Before making the switch, Mountainland had a “very reliable” T3 line, but needed more speed. Now, with UTOPIA, “we have much higher speeds,” he says.

Behind Orem’s Actions Regarding UTOPIA (UTOPIA Net) March 1, 2013

On Wednesday, the Tribune reported on actions taken this week in Orem regarding next steps for UTOPIA, the fiber-optic network backed by 11 member cities. The purpose of Tuesday’s meeting, which was properly noticed as a discussion, not a public hearing, was for the City Council to receive information about UTOPIA and provide direction to the City’s voting representative on the UIA (Utah Infrastructure Agency).

UTOPIA inspires bill limiting use of bonds (Standard Examiner) February 27, 2013

A bill inspired by the financial travails of the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA) putting limits on using proceeds from a bond for operating expenses for more than a year has passed the Senate.

Orem approves $24M for UTOPIA without public hearing, vote (Salt Lake Tribune) February 27, 2013

While other cities are pulling back the reins on telecommunication company UTOPIA, Orem is riding toward it at a full gallop by agreeing Tuesday to bond for $24 million more toward their original 2010 commitment. Council members approved the funding without a vote or public hearing, much to the frustration of residents.

Orem council mulls options on UTOPIA (Daily Herald) February 27, 2013

The Orem City Council cast its vote Tuesday in favor of adding a wireless option and drawing down on a bond to keep UTOPIA, the much-maligned telecommunications collaboration, alive.

UTOPIA is committed to building the future in the form of telecommunications infrastructure (Deseret News, Op-Ed from UTOPIA) February 26, 2013

The current debate over the future of UTOPIA is not one of philosophy, whether we should continue, private versus public sector, or any of a number of issues that have been hashed over for the past decade. The decision to fund and build the network by an alliance of cities was made years ago. It is an acknowledged fact that original plans have not worked out as desired.

Drawing the line on UTOPIA (Deseret News-Editorial) February 26, 2013

The debate over whether Internet broadband networks should be left to private enterprise or treated as a public utility is far from dead in the United States, but it is largely taking place on the margins, between interest groups or people connected to one side or the other. In the vast middle, the question is largely settled. Most Americans seem quite satisfied with the service they are getting, and most of them are getting it through private enterprise.

Do two ‘no’ votes to fund UTOPIA signal trouble for agency (Deseret News) February 23, 2013

Recent decisions from city councils in Murray and Tremonton denying more funds for the UTOPIA fiber-optic network is leading some to question the willingness of member cities to bankroll the company’s operations.

Murray council denies request for more UTOPIA funds (Salt Lake Tribune) February 19, 2013

Murray  City Council members on Tuesday rejected a request to appropriate $168,800 in additional funding for the financially troubled UTOPIA fiber-optic network…

… Murray is among the 11 member cities that joined UTOPIA a decade ago; the group committed to $185 million in bond debt that stretches through 2040. The economic downturn, coupled with missteps, led Murray and seven other member cities to form the Utah Infrastructure Agency (UIA) in 2010 to approve an additional $60 million in bonds to rescue the floundering project.

Murray has already paid out $3.6 million for its share and remains on the hook for $58.6 million. The city’s fiber-optic lines are 64 percent built out, and about 22 percent of residents and 10 percent of businesses who could attach to the lines have done so. Only about 10,000 subscribers among all member cities have connected to the network, which has had nine consecutive years of operating losses.

Bill would halt further bonding for UTOPIA operations (Salt Lake Tribune) February 8, 2013

Utah lawmakers will consider a bill that would make it impossible for the financially troubled UTOPIA fiber-optic network to use money from the future sale of bonds to fund its day-to-day operations.

American Crafts’ new muse is UTOPIA (Community Broadband Networks) January 19, 2013

If you are a 21st century crafter, you are probably prolific at finding inspiration online. You may be familiar with American Crafts of Orem for ideas or products. The company, founded in 1994, is now a customer of UTOPIA and reports significant bandwidth improvement after the switch from old T-1 connections. From the UTPOIA blog:

UTOPIA and West Valley City (UTOPIA Blog) January 28, 2013

UTOPIA has become an intricate part of West Valley City’s infrastructure, residential communities, and business districts. We have been thorough in our efforts to assist residents and businesses in becoming educated on how tapping into UTOPIA’s services can be extremely beneficial for them; and our businesses have taken to these benefits quickly.

Murray considers options for troubled fiber-optic network (Salt Lake Tribune) January 22, 2013

Residents packed City Council chambers Tuesday to hear various alternatives for the future of the high-speed, fiber-optic network that shackles 11 Utah cities with significant debt.

American Crafts’ new muse is UTOPIA (Community Broadband Networks) January 19, 2013

If you are a 21st century crafter, you are probably prolific at finding inspiration online. You may be familiar with American Crafts of Orem for ideas or products. The company, founded in 1994, is now a customer of UTOPIA and reports significant bandwidth improvement after the switch from old T-1 connections. From the UTPOIA blog:

UTOPIA, for better and worse, profiled (Community Broadband Networks) January 6, 2013

Since 2008, we have followed and reported on the peaks and valleys that is UTOPIA. Recently, the Salt Lake Tribune ran a series on the regional network. The coverage includes a sampling of the bitter and sweet of the complex relationship between the pioneering network, the state, and the customers it serves.

——————————————–2012——————————————

UTOPIA and the problems facing municipal broadband(Heartland Institute) December 10, 2012

One of Utah’s most ambitious municipal broadband programs is facing serious subscribership and funding problems. The Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA), a municipal broadband program organized in 2002 by a group of communities in the Wasatch Front area of the state, is facing massive debt, low enrollment, and, despite millions of dollars in taxpayer investments, difficulties raising enough revenue to keep the system running.

UTOPIA Network in debt, failing due to government incompetence (Coalition for the New Economy) December 5, 2012

The Coalition for the New Economy (CNE) today released a short case study by Dr. Joseph P. Fuhr Jr., professor of economics at Widener University in Chester PA, that examines the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA), a government-owned broadband network (GON) in Utah. The paper is the second in a series of micro papers released by CNE that highlight the negative budgetary and economic side effects of GONs.

Titanic or Starship Enterprise? (Salt Lake Tribune) December 2, 2012

Eleven cities are heavily invested in the high-speed fiber-optic network known as UTOPIA. In addition to the three cities – Orem, Brigham City and Centerville – highlighted more fully, eight others have a stake in the decade-old project. Here is the status of each:

UTOPIA response to Salt Lake Tribune reports (UTOPIA Blog) December 2, 2012

Since the legislative audit on the organization was released in August, there has been significant news coverage about UTOPIA, including two front-page stories in the Tribune. We understand that the paper is interested in pressing ahead with publishing yet another story recapping UTOPIA’s past. We feel this is premature; our attention is focused on refining our plan for moving the network forward successfully and we have no new information to report at this time, other than to say we expect a plan to be ready for review by cities and the public by the end of November.

Fiber-optic nirvana or a nightmare with no way out? (Salt Lake Tribune) December 2, 2012

Ten years after its formation, a public-sector broadband Internet network envisioned by leaders of 11 Wasatch Front cities as a bold path to Utah’s fiber-optic future remains, at best, an unrealized dream.

UTOPIA customers scarce but satisfied (Salt Lake Tribune)

Critics may question how UTOPIA has been financed and managed, but the high-speed fiber-optic network built by 11 Utah cities has few detractors in one respect: its performance.

Orem residents reject tax bill for UTOPIA (Salt Lake Tribune) December 2, 2012

Are consumers willing to pay higher taxes to finance UTOPIA? In Orem, the answer apparently is no.

UTOPIA: World-class broadband, sky-high debt (Salt Lake Tribune) December 2, 2012

UTOPIA isn’t unique among broadband networks for its debt-burdened finances.

Both public and private fiber-optic networks commonly borrow heavily as they build infrastructure and develop a viable subscriber base, several industry observers said.

Centerville officials believe demand for fiber optic network will grow (Salt Lake Tribune) December 2, 2012

UTOPIA Executive Director Todd Marriott has called Centerville “one of the most connected cities on Earth.” And with the fiber-optic network 100 percent built out in the city, administrators believe demand will continue to grow.

Spanish Fork steers clear of UTOPIA, builds own network (Salt Lake Tribune) December 2, 2012

One Utah city seems to have achieved the community-based, high-speed communications network UTOPIA set out to create.

Centerville achieves 100 percent on fiber-optic network backbone (Utah Business) November 17, 2012

Centerville City, an UTOPIA city, achieved 100 percent build out of the major trunk lines, or backbone, for its community-owned, ultra-high-speed, fiber-optic network.

A federal grant from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) made possible the completion of Centerville’s fiber-optic network backbone in a year and a half.

UTOPIA completes network in first city (Salt Lake Tribune) November 16, 2012

UTOPIA, the fiber-optic broadband service built by 11 Utah cities, announced Friday it has completed the network in its first city. Trunk lines, which are the network’s backbone, have been built out in 100 percent of Centerville.

Fitch rates Midvale municipal building authority (Yahoo Finance) October 5, 2012

Fitch Ratings assigns the following rating to Municipal Building Authority of Midvale City, Utah bonds: $7.8 million lease revenue bonds (City Hall Project), series 2012 at ‘A+’…

…These cumulative annual savings of $2 million are allowing the city to both protect its general fund balance and to meet its rising obligations connected to the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA) and the Utah Infrastructure Agency (UIA), discussed below.

Orem tax feud is about city sneaking up on taxpayers (Deseret News-Opinion) October 2, 2012

It’s “only” $4 a month. That’s what proponents of a tax increase in Orem are saying. Or “only” $48 a year. Who can’t afford 48 bucks?

Cities should provide fiber infrastructure (Salt Lake Tribune) September 29, 2012

UTOPIA’s financial audit by the state has revealed what many have suspected for years, that it is not profitable. Yet what form of infrastructure is?

Property tax hike in Orem sparks action, discord (Desert News) September 26, 2012

Leslie Nelson said a $4 a month tax hike is not too much to pay to keep Orem the pleasurable town she’s called home for 32 years.

Judge throws out lawsuit against Winder, DDM (KSL.com) September 24, 2012

A defamation lawsuit filed by a former UTOPIA executive against the company, West Valley City, Mayor Mike Winder and Deseret Digital Media was dismissed by a federal judge Monday.

UTOPIA’s future (Salt Lake Tribune) September 24, 2012

Utah legislators are right to be alarmed by the latest audit of UTOPIA, the troubled high-speed broadband network that is slowly bleeding its 11 Utah cities to pay its debts. Some suggested that the cities should sell this bad investment rather than let it continue to dig a deeper financial hole.

Bill looking at ways to increase UTOPIA’s success, transparency (Daily Herald) September 20, 2012

Sen. John Valentine introduced a two-part proposal to the Legislature’s business and labor committee Wednesday that calls for UTOPIA to respond to adopt better written plans, formal policies and performance measures.

Lawmakers: Is it time to let UTOPIA die? (Salt Lake Tribune) September 19, 2012

Executives of the UTOPIA fiber-optic network were met with blistering criticism by Utah lawmakers Wednesday, some wondering if the high-speed broadband network ought to just cut its losses and pull the plug.

Members of the Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee were presented with the results of a scathing legislative audit into UTOPIA’s operations and finances that asserted the broadband company is failing because of poor management and wasteful spending.

UTOPIA: Why didn’t they tell us? (Daily Herald Guest Opinion) September 17, 2012

Imagine it’s June of 2012, and you are the management of UTOPIA, Utah’s largest municipal telecom venture. You’re reviewing the final draft of an as yet unpublished but scathing report by the Legislative Auditor General. Your second-largest member city — Orem — is proposing to raise property taxes by 50 percnet (later reduced to 25 percent), and they are explicitly blaming your organization.

UTOPIA close to running out of cash? Though options remain for beleaguered fiber network (Broadband DSL Reports) September 12, 2012

The financials for the nation’s largest municipal broadband deployment are getting somewhat dire. According to the latest numbers from Utah’s Utopia, the fiber to the home project will be out of cash by the end of September. According to the project’s director, that won’t be the end of the road — the UTOPIA board of directors can still decide to draw down more operating funds from an existing $65 million bond. The company also still has access to government stimulus funding, though that money must be used for construction but not operational expenses.

UTOPIA Close to running out of cash? Thought options remain for beleaguered fiber network ( Broadband DSL Reports) September 12, 2012

The financials for the nation’s largest municipal broadband deployment are getting somewhat dire. According to the latest numbers from Utah’s Utopia, the fiber to the home project will be out of cash by the end of September. According to the project’s director, that won’t be the end of the road — the UTOPIA board of directors can still decide to draw down more operating funds from an existing $65 million bond. The company also still has access to government stimulus funding, though that money must be used for construction but not operational expenses.

UTOPIA explains fee hike in Orem (Guest Opinion: Daily Herald) September 8, 2012

We want to correct some inaccurate reporting in the Herald’s Sept. 7 poll article regarding UTOPIA fees.

First, UTOPIA will not be “out of money” at the end of the month. We are funded through bond proceeds and subscriber revenues. Last year’s budgeted funds were expected to last through June 30, 2012, but due to prudent management, UTOPIA has operated well past that date using those funds. As part of our standard operating procedure, on an annual basis, our board approves a scheduled drawdown on a pre-approved bond. This allows transparent oversight by the cities that own the network, including Orem.

New fees for UTOPIA (Daily Herald) September 7, 2012

UTOPIA subscribers in Orem, open your wallets. They’re coming to take your money — not only through taxes but through fees.

UTOPIA’s executive director disputes reports of funding woes (Standard Examiner) September 4, 2012

UTOPIA’s executive director insists the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency is not broke and bristles at what he characterizes as a “misrepresentation in the press” that the community-owned fiber-to-the-home network is not on course to better days.

Tax burden for most folks (Daily Herald) August 30, 2012

Recent concerns by the citizenry of Utah County over the cost of programs they are asked to pay for, most recently — UTOPIA — in Orem, have precipitated my response. Depending on the program, those who live and shop within a city are the ones who pay (fully or partially) the costs of the programs the city provides. Even those restricted to the most humble of budgets pay a share of programs they may never use. Regardless of the number of citizens who embrace a new program, there will almost always be an increase in the tax burden to those citizens who do not utilize the program.

Director says UTOPIA will be broke within the month (Standard Examiner) September 1, 2012

UTOPIA, the financially beleaguered Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency, will run out of operating revenue by the end of September, according to the group’s executive director.

Thank goodness for audits (Daily Herald) August 28, 2012

UT: I read with alarm the state Legislature’s UTOPIA audit (Daily Herald Aug. 2, 2012). I sincerely thank Orem Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem for requesting this audit. It reports that UTOPIA has a “negative book value” of $120 million, that the proceeds of UTOPIA’S $185 million in bonds were poorly utilized. Almost half the UTOPIA money (59 percent) was wasted on paying debts (25 percent) and “operations costs” (15 percent), not to mention the more than $3 million lost due to a purchase of now “obsolete” set-top boxes.

Poll responses 0826 (Daily Herald) August 26, 2012

Recently the Daily Herald asked in a poll: Should Orem scrap or keep UTOPIA? Can Orem meet its needs with a smaller tax increase? Here are some of the responses:

Questions for Orem residents (Herald Extra) August 17, 2012

At Orem’s animated truth in taxation hearing Aug. 14, the city council faced what amounted to a shock and awe campaign of mostly unhappy residents — hundreds of them, with hundreds more turned away for lack of space — and it caved.

UTOPIA creates needed competition (Deseret News) August 16, 2012

UTOPIA, is back in the headlines after a negative report by the state’s Office of the Legislative Auditor General. And as usual, UTOPIA is taking another beating in the press.

UTOPIA creates needed competition (Deseret News) August 16, 2012

UTOPIA, is back in the headlines after a negative report by the state’s Office of the Legislative Auditor General. And as usual, UTOPIA is taking another beating in the press.

Orem council votes to raise taxes by $1.7 million instead of $3.3 million (Daily Herald) August 15, 2012

After eight hours of a public hearing, the Orem City Council voted 4-3 to approve a compromise property tax increase of $1.7 million or nearly half of the proposed $3.345 million increase. The city will have to make up the remainder of the $3.3 million shortfall through cuts in budgeted service vehicles, a one time take from the city’s reserves, and no employee raises.

First Orem property tax hike in over 30 years (ABC-Salt Lake City) August 15, 2012

The average Orem homeowner will pay $4.20 more a month in property taxes or $50.40 more a year, according to Assistant City Manager Jamie Davidson.  He says the figure is based on a home worth $181,000.

Orem council votes to raise taxes by $1.7 million instead of $3.3 million (Daily Herald) August 15, 2012

After eight hours of a public hearing, the Orem City Council voted 4-3 to approve a compromise property tax increase of $1.7 million or nearly half of the proposed $3.345 million increase. The city will have to make up the remainder of the $3.3 million shortfall through cuts in budgeted service vehicles, a one time take from the city’s reserves, and no employee raises.

First Orem property tax hike in over 30 years (ABC-Salt Lake City) August 15, 2012

The average Orem homeowner will pay $4.20 more a month in property taxes or $50.40 more a year, according to Assistant City Manager Jamie Davidson.  He says the figure is based on a home worth $181,000.

UTOPIA, Utah’s failed government-owned fiber optic network (Metro Moment, YouTube) August 14, 2012

The Mero Moment is heard each week on radio stations throughout Utah. This week, Sutherland Institute President Paul Mero explains his opposition to UTOPIA, Utah’s failed government-owned fiber optic network. After 10 years of operation, UTOPIA has assets worth a negative $120 million, and …

Orem reps debate UTOPIA issue (Daily Herald) August 14, 2012

Ten years ago UTOPIA promised low-cost, high-speed Internet access to residents of its 16 partner cities but a decade later only 38 percent of Orem residents have access to the service and fiber-optic network UTOPIA is deep in debt, unable to pay even the interest on its bonds.

UTOPIA’s no utopia (Opinion-Editorial Salt Lake Tribune) August 11, 2012

In the wake of the Legislative Auditor General’s audit of the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency, UTOPIA officials have repeated one line over and over again: The original management created problems, but the management team installed in 2008 has resolved them.

Editorial: Dystopia (Standard-Examine) August 10, 2012

To no one’s surprise, things continue to look bleak for UTOPIA, the high-speed broadband network that continues to take taxpayer dollars from Layton, Brigham City, Centerville and several other Utah cities. The results of a legislative audit report seem to suggest that the network should change its name to DYSTOPIA.

UTOPIA committed to achieving success (Deseret News-Guest Opinion-Editorial) August 8, 2012

We were surprised to read the Deseret News editorial suggesting that UTOPIA, the fiber optic network 11 Utah cities are building, simply be shut down in the wake of a recent legislative audit recapping mistakes made in the network’s early years (“Time to end UTOPIA: Enough taxpayer money has been wasted on money-losing effort,” Aug. 3).

With tax hearing coming, UTOPIA audit looms large (Daily Herald Extra) August 8, 2012

With Orem’s truth in taxation hearing next week, residents and city leaders are mulling over the findings from a legislative audit that shows that fiber-optic network UTOPIA is in its ninth year of spiraling debt and it doesn’t seem to be improving.

It’s not the greatest news the city could have gotten days before a hearing on raising property taxes by 50 percent.

Adding to residents’ ire is the fact that of Orem’s $3.5 million proposed property tax increase, the first since 1978, $2.8 million will be used to pay Orem’s share of those UTOPIA debts.

No to new taxes (Tangled Web)  August 8, 2012

Well, things haven’t been going too well for UTOPIA, the much-touted fiber-optics solution to sluggish Internet. But wrapped up in the gushing loss of taxpayer dollars are competing and compelling philosophies of government. The Taxpayer Association’s Royce Van Tassel thinks government should not be in the business of business. So, even if UTOPIA weren’t $120 million in the hole, he probably wouldn’t like it. XMission founder Pete Ashdown has a different take. He doesn’t see why UTOPIA is expected to make a profit-roads and airports aren’t. He blames lawsuits from private competitors and bad management. Ashdown thinks government should take it over so competitors could use the network. As it is now, we have a private monopoly on the cable network. Can you spell Comcast?

UTOPIA committed to achieving success (Deseret News-Guest Opinion-Editorial) August 8, 2012

We were surprised to read the Deseret News editorial suggesting that UTOPIA, the fiber optic network 11 Utah cities are building, simply be shut down in the wake of a recent legislative audit recapping mistakes made in the network’s early years (“Time to end UTOPIA: Enough taxpayer money has been wasted on money-losing effort,” Aug. 3).

With tax hearing coming, UTOPIA audit looms large (Daily Herald Extra) August 8, 2012

With Orem’s truth in taxation hearing next week, residents and city leaders are mulling over the findings from a legislative audit that shows that fiber-optic network UTOPIA is in its ninth year of spiraling debt and it doesn’t seem to be improving.

It’s not the greatest news the city could have gotten days before a hearing on raising property taxes by 50 percent.

Adding to residents’ ire is the fact that of Orem’s $3.5 million proposed property tax increase, the first since 1978, $2.8 million will be used to pay Orem’s share of those UTOPIA debts.

No to new taxes (Tangled Web)  August 8, 2012

Well, things haven’t been going too well for UTOPIA, the much-touted fiber-optics solution to sluggish Internet. But wrapped up in the gushing loss of taxpayer dollars are competing and compelling philosophies of government. The Taxpayer Association’s Royce Van Tassel thinks government should not be in the business of business. So, even if UTOPIA weren’t $120 million in the hole, he probably wouldn’t like it. XMission founder Pete Ashdown has a different take. He doesn’t see why UTOPIA is expected to make a profit-roads and airports aren’t. He blames lawsuits from private competitors and bad management. Ashdown thinks government should take it over so competitors could use the network. As it is now, we have a private monopoly on the cable network. Can you spell Comcast?

UTOPIA alive and well (Opinion-Editorial: Salt Lake Tribune) August 7, 2012

The casual observer can be excused for thinking something is seriously wrong at UTOPIA – the consortium of local governments bringing next-generation fiber-optic infrastructure to their businesses and residents.

Still searching for an Internet UTOPIA (Perspectives on the News) August 6, 2012

You can miss so many interesting things by taking a two-week vacation. Take the report on the straightjacket 11 Utah cities find themselves in, otherwise known as UTOPIA.

State audit of UTOPIA fuels questions about its viability (Fierce Telecom) August 6, 2012

An audit by the Utah Legislative Auditor General has added more questions about the viability of the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA), which has led The Salt Lake Tribune to question whether the 11 cities paying the bills for the agency should just “pull the plug.”

UTOPIA audit (The Salt Lake Tribune) August 6, 2012

Editorial: A state audit of UTOPIA doesn’t shed much new light on the troubled high-speed broadband network that is slowly bleeding the budgets of 11 Utah cities to pay its bonds. Maybe that’s because only the market can answer the biggest question about UTOPIA: Should the cities pull the plug?

Let UTOPIA be a lesson for the future (Deseret News) August 4, 2012

If there’s one thing that burns me up more than just about anything, it’s government building a monument to themselves in the form of some new commodity or service, promoted under the standard guise of being “for the good of the people,” but is, in reality, nothing more than the ambition of a few elite who are in position to get rich – and “sell” this product to the taxpayer.

Utah State Auditor reviews UTOPIA, ignores state role in handicapping network (Community Broadband Networks) August 3, 2012

Just this week, the Office of the Legislative Auditor General of the State of Utah released a report to the Utah Legislature on UTOPIA. The report, titled A Performance Audit of the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency rehashes prior criticisms of UTOPIA and tells the abridged story of the Auditor’s understanding of UTOPIA’s financial troubles.

Editorial: Time to end UTOPIA: Enough taxpayer money has been waster on money-losing effort (Deseret News) August 3 2012

Sir Thomas More first created the name “Utopia” as the label for a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. Translated from Greek, it means, literally, “no place.” Ironically, that’s exactly where the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA) finds itself, 10 years and hundreds of millions of dollars after it was first proposed.

Evaluating UTOPIA’s audit (Free UTOPIA!) August 2, 2012

The Legislative Auditor General has published an audit of UTOPIA, and, as expected, it drags a fair amount of ancient history back into the spotlight.  The report concludes that additional accountability will alleviate the problems that UTOPIA has experienced, but it missed the mark on a number of points.

Legislative audit blasts UTOPIA’s planning, use of bond funds (Deseret News) August 2, 2012

UTOPIA has spent nearly all of its $185 million in bond proceeds, though only 59 percent of that has gone toward building infrastructure for the municipal fiber-optics network, a legislative audit found.

UTOPIA statement: Legislative auditor general performance audit (UTOPIA Press Release) August 1, 2012

UTOPIA staff worked closely with the Auditor for the past 18 months and cooperated fully with all aspects of the audit.

“Our member cities see providing advanced communications infrastructure to be as vital to our residents as police and fire service, parks, roads, and water and sewer service,” said Kane Loader, Midvale City Manager and chair of UTOPIA’s board of directors. “The unique open-access nature of the UTOPIA network enables and encourages competition and offers an alternative to the private, closed networks of incumbent telecommunications providers.”

State audit of UTOPIA fuels questions about its viability (FierceTelecom) August 2, 2012

An audit by the Utah Legislative Auditor General has added more questions about the viability of the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA), which has led The Salt Lake Tribune to question whether the 11 cities paying the bills for the agency should just “pull the plug.”

Audit: Problems still plague money-losing UTOPIA network (Salt Lake Tribune) August 1, 2012

After nearly a decade of operations, the high-speed broadband network known as UTOPIA continues to lose millions of dollars each year.

———————————————2010——————————————

It is time to stop UTOPIA (Stop UTOPIA) October, 2010

Payson council nixes UIA contract (Daily Herald, Utah)
October 28, 2010

The Payson City Council voted against assuming more risk in signing a service contract with the Utah Infrastructure Agency, an interlocal agency related to the fiber-optic network UTOPIA.

UTOPIC ‘on right track” (Daily Herald) October 24, 2010

UTOPIA is fighting back after the Utah Taxpayers Association encouraged residents to kill the project.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s