Utah to Have Best Networked Cities

Salt Lake City and 17 other Utah cities are planning to construct the largest ultrahigh-speed data network in the country using fiber optic cables. The New York Times report today that the Utopia construction project is scheduled to start next spring. Its fiber optic lines will be used to simultaneously send voice, video, Internet and other data traffic. Fees paid by consumers and businesses would repay the $470 million cost of building the system. "If Utopia succeeds, it will be the first really large-scale deployment of fiber to the home in the United States" making these Utah cities the best networked in the U.S. The role of government in building publicly sponsored digital networks is still controversial.

Read more: The New York Times | Government & Technology Weblog

Posted by Ray Matthews on November 17, 2003 at 12:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | Send this story to a friend!

The 18 cities that belong to UTOPIA are in the final stages of deciding whether to follow through with funding the project. Unfortunately, Qwest and its surrogates are launching an all-out war against the project because it would spur telecom choices and threaten their monopoly. If they can persuade city council members to vote against funding the UTOPIA fiber network, local residents and businesses lose while Qwest wins big.

The best way to overcome Qwest's vast resources and well orchestrated opposition is for citizens and business owners to speak out and let their city council members know we support them in approving UTOPIA's funding. We have to be visible and give them some political cover.

The first chance to do so will be tomorrow night (Dec. 9) at the Salt Lake City Council Meeting at 7 p.m. Show up and ask to address the council during the open public comment portion at the beginning of the meeting. Tell them how you feel about the project. It's not on their agenda but they'll have discussed it at their 5:30 work session and it will be fresh on their minds.

The 18 UTOPIA member cities are Brigham City, Cedar City, Cedar Hills, Centerville, Layton, Lindon, Midvale, Murray, Orem, Payson, Perry, Riverton, Roy, Salt Lake City, South Jordan, Taylorsville, Tremonton and West Valley.

Posted by: Sprinter at December 8, 2003 07:22 PM