UTOPIA Cities to Google: Pick Us, Please!

  • FTTH
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT - The 16 Utah cities of UTOPIA joined a long list of communities bidding to participate in Google’s Fiber Communities program. UTOPIA is the builder and operator of an open-access fiber-to-the-home network for the 16-city consortium.

“Google affirmed that what the cities of UTOPIA are trying to do in boldly bringing fiber to their communities is the right move for the future of telecom in this country,” said West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder. “It is as if our cities have been buying a certain stock for years and the world wasn’t sure if we were doing the right thing. Then one day Warren Buffet walks in the room and announces that he is going to buy that same stock. Now they are sitting up and paying attention.”

Mayor Winder’s comments were backed by all UTOPIA mayors, some of whom attended and spoke at the event: Ron Russell (Centerville), Steve Curtis (Layton), Joann Seghini (Midvale), Dan Snarr (Murray), and Jerry Nelson (Perry). Each emphasized the critical role that UTOPIA plays in future innovation and economic development in their communities, and their excitement at Google’s announcement. “We’re finding that companies are coming to Midvale specifically because we can offer them fiber,” said Mayor Seghini. “This infrastructure is as important as any of the other infrastructure that we offer to our community, and it’s open to anyone to use it. Google’s announcement brings another opportunity to share our vision in our city and around the state.”

“Few communities are poised like the cities of UTOPIA to offer a real partnership in fiber deployment,” says Todd Marriott, UTOPIA’s Executive Director. “I applaud Google’s efforts to make this necessary infrastructure available and to encourage the kind of innovation that can only come over fiber-to-the-premise technology. It’s encouraging to see that our vision of a gig connection to every home, which we’ve been talking about for the last year, is shared by Google.”

Service providers and businesses that use the UTOPIA network are also excited about Google’s announcement and UTOPIA’s participation in the Google RFI. Among them: Pete Ashdown, CEO of XMission, Utah’s oldest commercial ISP, and provider for the largest customer base of any independent ISP in the state. “I’m sure that Google made this announcement because they’re about as sick of dealing with incumbents as I am,” Ashdown said. “This is a great move toward an open network model that makes quality services available to everyone.”

“We’re riding the light of the future,” says Dave Thomas, CEO of Thomas Arts, “and there’s no way we’re going back.”

Though the UTOPIA project has been in progress for five years, deployment is still incomplete. Supporters of UTOPIA's partnering with Google hope that an infusion of cash from Google will help finish the project quickly - and also allow Google to jump-start its 1 Gbps network experiment.

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