UTOPIA’s Important Decision

Congratulations to those who are working hard to find long term, effective solutions to the UTOPIA financial and operational dilemmas.

After so many years of almost non-stop challenge, it is time to do something different and to stop the ever expanding hemorrhage of precious dollars.

UTOPIA needs a new player who can advance a fresh and effective strategic vision and who has the muscle to make that vision real. Is Macquarie Capital Group really the best choice?  They may or may not be, but they should not be allowed to be the only choice seriously considered.  Now that talk of this proposal is more widely known, do we need to pause and recast our net more broadly to see if there are any other qualified proposals? 

A quick review of Macquarie’s management and current portfolio suggests this will be a first-time, new business activity for them.  Are we sure we want to be their first? Are we sure they have the people in place who can really make this happen? Whose expertise will they rely on if they take on the role they propose?

As an Orem property owner, it would be my preference the network be fully privatized, if not immediately, over some period of time.  But that is not an easy thing to do.  Long experience has proven that not all potential private sector partners are equal or fully capable.  We must be very careful and choosey, but it is long past time to act and to act effectively.

This will be a tough discussion as there are yet many who believe the fiction that enhanced “twisted-pair copper” and enhanced “coaxial wire” technologies will provide future proof solutions.  They won’t.  We need UTOPIA, but their current dilemma grows more expensive every day we postpone setting a new direction.  This is a problem we have to solve.  It isn’t going to go away.  So let’s have a rousing debate and then pursue our best options.

To those who just want to grump and groan about how awful everything is, I will suggest that Utah is better for the efforts of those behind UTOPIA.  While I have not always agreed with their approach and method, thanks to the 11 UTOPIA cities and a few others, Utah has made substantial progress in preparing itself to compete in a global economy.  According to the most recent Technets Broadband Index, Utah ranks 9th in the United States when it comes to broadband deployment.  We should be ranked 1st, not because we want the ranking, but because we want the economic benefit that will come therefrom.

Many have said, “The State and Communities who are best able to provide true broadband connectivity to every home and worksite within their respective jurisdictions will have a real advantage in the future to come.”  I agree.  Let’s make Utah one of the best of the best and get this done.