CityViews 8/30/12: UTOPIA/Deana Martin Headlines SLC Jazz Fest

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Segment 1:

In 2002, a group of Utah cities got together to build a state-of-the-art fiber optic network, a technology infrastructure that would give residents high-speed, high-quality Internet. Ten years later, only about 10,000 homes currently subscribe to the service, well short of the 50,000 envisioned. A recent legislative audit recommends better management of the project and fiscal controls, prompting calls to pass the project on to the private sector. On Thursday, we’ll discuss the ups and downs of the UTOPIA project and how to move forward.

Guests:

  • Wayne Pyle, West Valley City
  • Pete Ashdown, XMission
  • Royce Van Tassel, Utah Taxpayer’s Association
  • Todd Marriott, UTOPIA

 

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Segment 2:

Deana Martin made her TV debut in 1966 on her famous father’s television show, “The Dean Martin Show,” and she’s been performing ever since. She’s appeared in just about every environment, from Shakespeare on the stage, to cameos on The Merv Griffin Show to motion picture roles to Vegas nightclub acts. She’s coming to Salt Lake City to headine the Salt Lake Jazz Festival this Sunday night and on Thursday, Deana Martin joins us to talk about honoring her father’s legacy.

Guests:

The Salt Lake City Jazz Festival  will be held Sunday, Sept. 2, 1 to 11 p.m. at the Gallivan Center, Salt Lake City.

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Comments
  1. Jake Hickman

    I’ve been following Utopia ever since it’s launch. I’m in the IT business and have always seen high speed internet as a must for our communities.

    Utopia started and was bargained into only Provo because of a promise from Qwest to lay fiber all over the valley during a 3 year period. Of course during this period they laid relatively little fiber and offered slow speeds, relative to Utopia of course.

    This project has never been adequately funded or advertised. in 2005 I had a friend who is also in IT (in the business!) who did not know Utopia was available in his area (Provo). I told him he should get it right away and was amazed that he had fiber run directly to his garage and received 50 Mega Bit per second download speeds! In 2005, that was close to 30X faster than any other provider could offer.

    Now here we are and Utopia has been allowed into the valley because Qwest failed on their promise, as everyone should have predicted. Still, they maintain a strangle hold on communities because the project puts the onus on communities to request/fund the services.

    Comcast and Qwest have an advantage in that they can and do charge people for services that they cannot provide. I paid for a 12 MB package from Comcast and I received only 3 MB a sec. When I called Comcast I was not offered a refund or even an explanation of why a service was offered in my area that was not even available. But they sure were happy to take my money.

    I’ve had the same experience with Qwest (Century Link) in my new home. I purchased a 40 MB package to see if they could even really give it to me, and sure enough they could only really offer me half of that, but they certainly were happy to take my money.

    Utopia is under advertised and the lack of subscription would be so much wider if people knew it was available. I happen to know the area’s in which Utopia is available but not one bit of information I have on Utopia is from advertisement. Every single business knows you cannot sell a product without people knowing it exists and this is the situation that Utopia finds itself in.

    Telecom companies have too much interest in relying on out dated infrastructure because investment is far too expensive. We don’t allow contractors to dictate which roads are repaired or which water lines are expanded, Internet connectivity should be treated in the exact same fashion.

    I’m going to call in as well, hopefully I’ll make it through.

  2. A great source of information about UTOPIA is a website called Free UTOPIA. For instance, see recent coverage of the UTA making false claims to attack the UTOPIA project. http://www.freeutopia.org/2012/08/16/local-groups-whipped-oremites-into-an-unhinged-frenzy/

    One has to wonder whether the “Utah Taxpayers Association” cares more about what is best for Utah or what is best for Comcast and CenturyLink? And judging by where they get their money, we would be surprised if it is Utah.

  3. Brad Fullmer

    I have been a UTOPIA Advocate (residential salesman) since January in Centerville. It is a difficult proposition trying to educate people about UTOPIA’s benefits, both now and especially long-term. Many people are so mesmerized by Comcast and Century Link because of name recognition, but the reality is these massive corporations have zero interest in offering customers faster Internet speeds and better pricing. They will charge you whatever they can get out of you.

    UTOPIA’s service providers offer highly competitive rates for Internet, Phone and TV. In most cases, people pay about the same price they do now for much faster speed, and that includes the $30 per month to their local City/UTOPIA for the direct fiber optic line to their house. The great thing about the connection is that it ultimately will be paid off (people can choose to pay it off up front), meaning they only have to pay a service provider (like XMission) a monthly fee for Internet/Phone use.

    Long-term UTOPIA cities are going to be light-years ahead of other cities. The reality is people will need 100 Mbps, or even 1 Gbps Internet speeds at some point. To think that 20 Mbps is sufficient in shortsighted, and flat-out wrong. 15 years ago everyone made due with dial-up Internet and speeds of 28.8K. The average U.S. household has speeds of 3-5 Mbps, which in my mind is archaic.

    Fiber is the future. I urge the SLC Council to start looking into UTOPIA for Salt Lake City. The future is now. Stop dawdling.

  4. Chad

    I live in Centerville, and I’m currently renting the house that I live in. I would have signed up for Utopia, but there’s a $3000 fee for connecting to the service. I know I could pay it off on a monthly basis, but I don’t know how long I’m going to live there, and I can’t make that kind of financial commitment on behalf of my landlord.

    I tried searching online for connection pricing for getting hooked up to Utopia, but I found very little online. My suspicion is that Centerville is trying to defray the cost of the network installation by passing the cost on to the consumer. I also suspect the cost of entry isn’t as steep in other cities, and that’s why they don’t make those costs obvious online.

    I’m not sure how this is funded, but I was under the impression that it was a consortium of cities that wanted to get the network installed and these cities were going to share the cost of installation. My concern is that Centerville tax dollars went into installing the Provo network and the residents there don’t have as steep a connection cost as Centerville residents. I’m concerned that the cities that get fully connected won’t have any incentive to continue contributing to the project to get the other cities up and running.

  5. Donald Byrd

    Chad you can lease the Utopia connection! Give me a Call I can help, my name is Don I’v been a Utopia advocate for over a year. I’d love to talk to anyone that has questions about Utopia and its services Don 801-604-9710