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UTOPIA: Council Advances to Milestone 2

Once again the topic of UTOPIA was back on the table at Tremonton City Council. The council listened to public comment and then decided to move forward with Macquarie into Milestone 2 (four milestones total).

About 10 years ago Tremonton became one of 11 cities to join UTOPIA, which would provide a fiber optic network for internet, TV and phone services. The network was only 90 percent completed, with very few residents able to use it. Since the network is operating at a loss, UTOPIA cities have fallen into debt and Macquarie, a leading provider of banking, financial, advisory, investment and funds management services, has been suggested as a potential solution to UTOPIA’s problems.

Councilman Byron Wood added, “We are all against mandates, we don’t want to force anyone into anything, but we are on the hook for those bonds that are tied to tax revenue. There is no way to get out of it. Macquarie entered the scene in hopes to gain revenue. It’s a good quality product, we all hate mandates but it’s an answer to our prayers. We are going to pay for it (UTOPIA) one way or another ($12M) this way you at least get a product, the other way you are paying for nothing.”

Councilwoman Diana Doutre made the motion to proceed into milestone 2, she said, “I don’t do that lightly. I have seen both sides of this and I think it’s going to be a good thing.” Holmgren, who seconded the motion, commended the council for spending countless hours studying UTOPIA, attending meetings and reading articles.

Of the 11 UTOPIA cities, Tremonton, Midvale, West Valley and Layton have all agreed to proceed with milestone 2. Lindon City Council unanimously opted out, with a few other cities still up in the air.

For more details and to see what local residents had to say during public comment time, pick up a copy of next week’s paper.


1 comment for “UTOPIA: Council Advances to Milestone 2

  1. Mike
    June 24, 2014 at 10:00 am

    I’ve been to the meetings and listened to the Pro’s and Con’s. I’m one of the first people to say that the plan isn’t perfect. But long term, the benefits of going forward with this plan are pretty encouraging.

    Having fiber available for a small cost to every resident, rich or poor, will level the playing field for those in the low income bracket who don’t feel they can afford internet in it’s present form. That will allow their children to have the same educational benefits that the more well to do have now. 18 dollars is a lot more affordable than the 50 to 70 bucks people are paying now.

    Bringing new businesses to our community is a pretty tough sell for many reasons. Now, the lack of high speed fiber to connect to will not be one of them.

    When people see their current rates for other internet options start to drop due to competition, and when we see the jump in ISP connections to choose from downstream, we will look back and thank our City for making the hard choices now.

    And maybe the most compelling argument. We will pay for Utopia if we buy in, and we will pay for Utopia if we choose not to. Doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to figure out how incredibly stupid it would be to not enjoy the benefits because we are mad over how the original Utopia turned out.

    I can’t imagine what the Lindon City people were thinking. If I understand this correctly, they now will pay their portion of the Utopia debt for the next quarter century, but will be sitting in Fiber Optic Darkness, while the rest of the cities will be enjoying the best connections available. Go figure.

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