So glad we're moving from the "utopia" of Orem to the Google Fiber
of Provo.If Orem residents were smart they'd tell
"utopia" to take a hike and open the door for Google Fiber to buy their
fiber optic network.
Deseret News Editorial Board, can you honestly claim that, "But the flaw in
that argument is, and always has been, that UTOPIA is offering a service plenty
of private businesses already compete to provide."??? That is just is not
the case. The ISP market is Utah is a duopoly if you are not in a UTOPIA city.
The residents of UTOPIA cities are the only ones who have a real choice because
of a more robust marketplace in choosing their ISP.
I recently received an advertisement from one of these supposedly robust
competitive private companies. I called to inquire about service. But the
service available at my house was only 1/40th of the advertised speed, and the
cost was three times the advertised price. My only other choice offered slightly
higher speeds at significantly higher price. For the editorial board to claim
there is a robust competitive market is simply wrong. This is the reason UTOPIA
began in the first place. Especially in the digital information age, where our
country lights significantly behind other countries, and is surprising how many
are beholden to companies which have consistently been rated as the worst
customer service companies in the country. The free market reign, the argument
goes. But, communications infrastructure is so critical that it should be
treated as importantly as other critical infrastructures, and it should be
encouraged to grow. When was the last time someone asked what the return on
investment and was for police services – yet these could be provided by
the private sector. Same thing with fire, parks, and the list goes on. It's
not shortchange your children's future over $20 a month today.
This was a bad idea that never got better. The city councils that voted yes for
this should have been punished for all the money they spent that produced no
results.Cities should stick to building parks and roads and other such
stuff and stay out of anything that competes with private business. Cities
should not invest in speculative investments.
Two corrections:First, saying that the proposed fee is somewhere
between $10 and $40 is technically true but the proposed fee isn't nearly
that vague. It's $18-$20 per residence and it is only due starting months
after the residence is connected to the network.Second, UTOPIA
doesn't provide a service any more than UDOT provides a service. They both
support infrastructure. UDOT builds and maintains roads which, among other uses,
are used by FedEx, UPS, USPS, and OnTrac who compete to deliver packages to your
door. UTOPIA builds and maintains a fiber-optic network which is currently used
by Beehive Broadband, Brigham.net, FiberNet, InfoWest, Sumo Fiber, Veracity,
WebWave, and XMission who compete to deliver high speed internet to your
home.Feel free to debate the merits of UTOPIA but quit claiming that
UTOPIA competes with Comcast to provide internet - that's like saying that
UDOT competes with FedEx to deliver packages. The only true debate is whether
everyone should have access to high speed internet in their homes like they have
access to phones or whether that should only be available to those who pay for
it themselves (like phones were in their infancy).
UTOPIA has been a classic money pit for about 15 years, all based on repeated
promises that have gone unfulfilled. This editorial is right. The UTOPIA cities
should have recognized the mismanagement many years ago, and cut the losses
hundreds of millions of dollars ago!Instead, the
"mis-managers" - the city officials, UTOPIA Board of directors, and all
their yes-men, have continued to throw good money after bad.But many
of these mis-managers have gotten rich playing this game!They must
be held accountable. Their personal wealth and assets should be garnished to pay
back some of the losses they have greedily imposed on the taxpayers and citizens
through this boondoggle.
The Deseret News has been consistent from the beginning that government has no
business getting involved in the telecommunications business. I agree. Leave it
to private industry. Taxpayers would be in much better shape if the elected
officials of UTOPIA cities had listened to that advice.The majority
of elected officials now in office in UTOPIA cities probably had no vote back
when this misadventure began. But as they consider whether or not to commit more
tax money to the enterprise now, they should remember the first rule of holes:
When you're in one, stop digging.
DavidMiller- Your comparison is flawed. If you said UTOPIA does not compete with
the companies that use their infrastructure your comparison would be more
correct. Does Comcast or Century Link or DIGIS use the UTOPIA lines, or do they
use ones they built themselves.A more correct analogy would be if
the State and Private companies both built separate rail lines to Las Vegas and
you had to ride on specific trains to use the lines to get there. Now if the
State lets other Companies provide the trains that they charge you for instead
of the state itself providing the trains for the lines it built using tax money,
that is UTOPIA. Now if the other tracks were built completely with private money
and they require you to use their trains to take their tracks, those are the
Comcast, Century Links etc.. But what if you want to use the private companies,
why should you be subsidizing the public built tracks as well since they are
going to charge you as well and another private company is going to make money
off of it. And in that case, isn't the state competing with the private
My experience with Comcast was bad. Their internet speeds were slower. We
often lost all Comcast service for phone, internet and cable television (several
times a year). And Comcast kept raising their prices. We love our
Utopia service. Fast internet, prices are much lower in comparison to Comcast,
and we haven't lost service once since signing up with Utopia and Veracity
nearly 2 years ago. Better service, lower prices. I don't understand why
everyone hasn't signed up for Utopia service.
Kora- You are correct that my comparison is imperfect but while Comcast and
CenturyLink are using lines they built themselves it should be noted that they
are allowed use the UTOPIA lines if they wish to. That's the whole point of
an open network infrastructure. It should also be noted in the case of
CenturyLink that while their lines were built privately they were also built
with a mandate from Congress that they provide service to everyone - even those
who are in rural areas where the cost of those lines doesn't justify the
expense. In exchange for that mandate they charge everyone an extra fee to
recover the cost of those lines. That's essentially what UTOPIA is
proposing - universal access in exchange for a universal fee.Again,
you can argue as to whether that is warranted for internet access to the home or
not but the argument needs to be made with the understanding that this is not so
different from what we already have with out phones.
I forgot to address the second half of your comment Kora: why pay for the
publicly funded train tracks as well as the private tracks? Simply because the
public tracks (UTOPIA) are vastly superior to the private ones technologically
and we are advancing in our internet use to the point that the privately built
tracks will eventually be unable to meet our needs. The United States isn't
even in the top 25 of countries with the fastest internet speeds and our speeds
are less than a third that of the top performers and less than half the speed of
countries such as Romania. Despite that, the private companies here are doing
virtually nothing to get ahead of that curve - either because they can't or
because we don't have the leverage to convince them to invest in those
costly infrastructure upgrades.
Madsen Hall Magic-Your prices are much lower because it is being
subsidized by tax payers.
kcarverg2-Subsidized like GM, UTA, produce, milk, corn, wheat,
DavidMiller- My Friends with Google Fiber are very happy with the speeds, and it
is priced well. And as you mentioned about Century Link, only subscribers pay
the fees, those who don't subscribe don't pay. Under UTOPIA you have
to pay that monthly fee whether you get the service or not. In addition that fee
could be as high as $40. It is only $18-20 if all the cities on UTOPIA go for
the agreement. The fewer the cities that sign on, the higher the fee. Imagine if there was a private and public Fire Dept in town, and yes, Private
Fire Departments exist and my parents are covered by one. You can subscribe to
either for a certain fee, and neither will serve you without paying the fee. Now
why should you be required to pay a fee to subsidize the public run department
if you subscribe to the private department's services? Just because the
government set it up instead of a private company? Would it be right to make
everyone pay a fee to fund a new government owned airline, even if they never
fly on it?
I am pleased that the editorial board has taken a stand against this UTOPIA
boondoggle. It was a bad idea from the beginning. Government should not be
involved in private enterprise. One of the circular arguments made
in favor of UTOPIA is that so much money has already been spent that we need to
spend more money or…uhm… the money we have spent will be lost.
It's how you lose everything in Vegas. The economic theory of sunk costs
teaches that the money that has been spent is gone, and it doesn’t make
economic sense or good public policy to spend more money because we have already
lost money on a failed program. Will Rogers would say, When
you’ve dug yourself a hole, the best thing to do is stop digging. Hurrah
for the Lindon City Council for putting down the shovel. UTOPIA is a money pit.
Just stop digging. Speaking of getting out of a hole, I would love
to see a mayor or city council or city attorney take a stand to stop continued
spending and file suit against UTOPIA for breached contract. Call it negligence.
Call it fraud. Just call it off.
I agree with the editorial. No citizen should ever be taxed to provide a
"public" service when private companies already provide that service.
We have Comcast connected to an in-home office. They provided the
infrastructure and the service. We also have DSL through Century Link and
XMission for another in-home office. Century Link provides the infrastructure
and the DSL line. XMission is the ISP. We could have DIGIS provide their
service. They provide the radio signals for their network and the antenna to
receive those signals to the customer. Their price is competitive and their
service is reported to be excellent.I would guess that everyone on
the Wasatch Front has access to the internet through at least two of the
companies that I mentioned. There is no need for an extra tax so that UTOPIA
can compete with private companies. Let them raise their own money, just like
any private business has to do and let the cities sue them for breach of
contract for services promised but not provided.
"david" We DON'T LIKE GM, produce, corn.....etc. subsidized
either. Why add ANOTHER subsidized item to the things that government
SHOULDN'T be doing?I'm opposed to further funding for
Utopia because I don't think a senior citizen living alone in his/her home
should have to pay a FURTHER tax just so their neighbors can have "fast
It is a shame the Lindon City Council did not have the continued foresight of
its predecessors to invest in the finalization of this network. It was as if we
were building a new freeway, had all the lanes to the North built, and decided
to stop building before the lanes to the South were built.Kora
mentions those using Google fiber are very happy. But the Google fiber project
at least in Provo is being subsidized by a mandatory utility fee every month.
UTOPIA's proposal with Macquarie is fundamentally the same thing. The big
difference is people will save money.Lindon has represented that
more than 90% of its citizens use the Internet. Assuming they pay the lowest
Internet cost with Century Link (naked DSL) for $30 a month, just the savings
alone of $10 per month per household across UTOPIA, represents the next savings
of more than $500 million. And that's assuming nobody upgrades! How is this
a bad thing?
"Fitness Freak" - Do you equally object to those of us who are younger
having to pay our fair share of the senior citizens facilities sponsored by each
of the cities? If not,why the duplicity? Here we are talking about something
that the majority of citizens use, which will be provided to them at less than
they are paying today. For those people who want to upgrade, they can. For those
who want to buy other services from other companies, they can. I know many
people who are connected to the city's water system who also buy case loads
of bottled water every year. I see very little difference here. And, again, the
notion that the private sector built their networks on their own is laughable.
At the very least they use the Public right-of-way. In addition, for decades the
phone companies had guaranteed rates of return to build their core
infrastructure. They receive lots of tax subsidies. So, since we already own
the infrastructure, let's complete it and benefit from it –
where's the harm?
BLUECOUG....GOOGLE fiber isn't interested in buying utopia. They may be
interested in getting the same deal they got with Provo when they were given
then network at no charge.
The only thing that bugs me about Google Fiber is the fact that Provo city has
made a choice or openly promoting one private enterprise over other competitors.
There is something about this I don't like.
I agree.We should have better trust in the private sector.After all, monopolies don't exist, we aren't being gouged on gas and
food, and banks are too big to fail....
They pay these guys... and then force them to sit in a room and watch South
Park???====More seriously... If you don't trust the
private market... what's the alternative? Trust the GOVERNMENT to control
our access to the infrastructure we need to get information (TV, Internet,
Phone)?I don't want the government to have that kind of control
over my access to information. I want people running it who just want me to
pay my bill (with no political agenda or political interests involved).
When I buy a product that fails to do what the seller says it will do, I have
the right to not pay. Why don't the cities tell the bond holders to go
fish and talk to those who sold them the bonds. What disaster could
befall the cities if they simple default on the bond payments?How
about we make a new law that prevents scams that rob the taxpayer?
@Ultra Bob,Re "What disaster could befall the cities if they
simple default on the bond payments?"...They would not be able
to borrow money again. And if they really REALLY needed to borrow for a project
(a school, park, community building, road construction, etc)... it would be very
expensive (because the lenders would know about the history of the City not
thinking it's all that important to pay back money you borrowed... so they
would need a super high interest rate to make it worth risking their money).So just blowing this off... could make EVERYTHING the city does in the
future WAY more expensive.===============Same goes for
businesses though. If they don't pay back their loans... people are not
interested in loaning them more money. So they have to pay extra high premiums
to get people to risk their money and loan it to them.
2 bits.Exactly.Maybe then the cities would only buy
those things the need and can afford, instead of theatres, zoos, aviaries, fish
tanks, stadiums, event centers, etc. etc. etc. Maybe we would not
have to support the Arts, memorials, and such.Business should stand
on its own. Taxpayers should not be nanny to businesses.
To "mcdugall" you are wrong. There are many different internet
providers. Last I counted there were about 12 different ISPs available in the
Salt Lake valley.