Utah Policy/KSL Insider Survey: UTOPIA Deal

How many of the 11 UTOPIA city councils will vote in favor of the deal to build out and operate the fiber optic network? Should residents of those cities get a say, especially since they will be charged for the service whether they are customers or not? Our “Political Insiders” weigh in on these questions this week.

Selected anonymous comments:

“Finally there is a proposal that will fix UTOPIA and provide service to all residence and businesses in the member cities. This is how utopia should have happened,this is not just a ‘utility’ infrastructure project, this is an investment in economic development that will move the member cities towards more tech jobs.”

“All cities that have made a decision as of today have voted yes. Our elected council persons are an intelligent group who will be able to recognize that this deal with Macquarie is exactly what Utopia and Utah need. It will result in more competition, lower prices, and a much higher quality product.”

“I want Utopia and would pay the $20. My options today at my home are flaky bad and slow DSL at $39 a month or faster and somewhat stable cable at $57 a month. I want the very fast Utopia connection provided be a non media company and I would pay any reasonable price.”

“If they don’t vote in favor then its foolish. Fiber is the future and the 11 cities would be ahead of the curve for the foreseeable future.”

“It’s a win/win situation. Any city that does not sign on, is not looking at the best interests of their city and future. If people would open their minds and get educated on the subject, they would see and understand the benefits of the proposal.”

“The cities will suffer if they don’t vote for it. Macquarie is the best thing that could happen to improve this situation.. No residents should not be able to vote, that is why we elect officials and that is part of their job.”

“With the existing debt looming no matter what, this deal seems very attractive. The lack of buildout is the biggest obstacle to UTOPIA success.”

“I put zero, but that is just a wish, Most or the city council are naive enough to be snowballed one more time. This time a financial group from Australia who will take the big contract of 30 years with 7% annual interest (Colorado cities are paying just 3%) They will sell the contract and sit back and collect MORE interest by a factor of 4 than the bad UTOPIA losses. If the deal was good why MANDATE purchase. If we wanted it we would have companies lined up. The model of business only works when people are forced to buy. For some of us another $20 plus a month has to come out of gas or food budget, which is also taking more.”

“Cities should closely study all options. Fiber is a great equalizer!”

“This is the best deal to hit Utah in a LONG time. Despite the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) and outright lies being spread by incumbents like Comcast and Centurylink, participating cities would be foolish not to accept Macquarie’s proposal. As far as the $18-$20 fee, it’s been shown in other regions where fiber has been installed that residents who choose to stay with Comcast will see a reduction in their rate as Comcast struggles to stay competitive. This rate reduction will likely offset the cost of the fee, meaning that even those who choose NOT to subscribe to UTOPIA will be minimally impacted by the Macquarie deal. This competitive “rate reduction” and potential loss of subscribers is also the biggest reason incumbents will stoop to almost any tactic to see this deal squashed.”

“This is the best business proposal available to UTOPIA cities to help reduce the long term exposure to taxpayers.”

“It’s an out. They would be crazy not to take it. UTOPIA was a bad idea from the start. This type of venture is best left to the marketplace.”

“Internet service is NOT A UTILITY. It is optional and should be funded by businesses in the marketplace. The taxpayers got stung by iProvo and UTOPIA – do you see a pattern here?? The smart cities will opt out and the city councils that opt in will be voted out next time.”

“The important question is should the cities vote for this deal. Based on the math the answer is a resounding yes. Prognostication as to who will or will not approve this is really asking us to gauge how many cities are represented by councils who would cut off their nose to spite their face.”

“It should be all of them, but, this is Utah and the GOP is a little terrified of forward progress.”

“This is a boondoggle and should be labeled as such. Using taxpayer funds to compete with private sector businesses such as Comcast or CenturyLink is wrong.”

“The UTOPIA cities have dug themselves a deep hole. They don’t have many options. Taxpayers are going to have to cover the infrastructure cost one way or the other. It’s now about minimizing the loss and maximizing gains over the long term by using the infrastructure to promote economic development and provide high speed connectivity to residents.”