UTOPIA Plans Expansion of Fiber Optic Network

  • FTTH
  • UTOPIA
LAYTON, UTAH - UTOPIA (the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency - a consortium of 16 Utah cities that operate a fiber-to-the-premises network) will soon be expanding its network in Layton, one of its member cities.

On Tuesday, Layton's planning commission approved sites on city-owned land for six fiber distribution huts that will soon make network services more available to the city's residents and businesses. The huts should be constructed within 60 to 90 days, following the receipt of final building permits from the city. UTOPIA plans to submit the proposed sites for 12 additional huts soon.

"We're excited they're moving foward in a fairly aggressive fashion," says city planner Peter Matson.

Part of Layton has been served by UTOPIA since 2007. At that time, UTOPIA was planning to build out the network in all its participating cities at the same time. "But partway through UTOPIA's existence, we entered an agreement with the federal government to take a in a loan," explains Layton city manager Alex Jensen. "One of the conditions of that loan was that the money had to be spent in rural areas. Layton is not a rural area."

Instead, UTOPIA moved forward to connect Centerville, Lindon and Brigham City, cities that met the rural requirements. (Ironically, UTOPIA and the Rural Utilities Service could never agree on the details of the project, the loan monies were never fully disbursed and the two parties are now engaged in a lawsuit.)

In 2010, UTOPIA was awarded $16.1 million in federal stimulus money, with $4.8 million designated for Layton, enabling the buildout in Layton to go forward. In addition, the city of Layton has pledged sales tax revenues toward the project, beginning at $2 million for 2011 and increasing in subsequent years.

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