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XMission's Company Journal

Frequently Asked Questions about Macquarie and UTOPIA

fibre-opticLast night, I attended the Murray town hall meeting on UTOPIA/Macquarie. It was refreshing to see over 300 people turn-out with many thoughtful questions. Although there was some misinformation from the audience broadcast, the city council and mayor did their best to answer questions on an extremely technical subject. There were times that I wish I could have thrown them a lifesaver, yet I respected their decision to restrict discussion to city government and Murray citizens.

I had a friend who was a computer science professor at the University of Utah who was fond of saying, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” I refer to this frequently as projects drag on at XMission and we try refine our services endlessly before launching. It applies very much to Macquarie’s offer to the UTOPIA cities. Many in the cities want the perfect situation – an entity comes in, assumes the debt, expands the fiber network ubiquitously, gives everyone a reasonable price, and keeps it open for competition instead of monopolizing service to themselves. I am convinced this will not happen. The debt is a millstone around UTOPIA that keeps profitability at a 15-20 year window for any private investor. My experience with venture capital and private investors is that they want a 3 year return, and multiples of that.

The Macquarie deal is a very good deal. It is not perfect, nor will it be. They are fronting over $300 million dollars to complete and operate this project, and yes, they will make a profit of around 13%. Macquarie is a fund that is supplied by pensions and other long term investments. They are not looking for a “three bagger in three years”, they are looking for stable return over decades. This is why they look at infrastructure projects like toll roads, bridges, and communication networks to invest in.

When I realized that there would be no opportunity to speak last night, I noted questions to answer here later. I am also going to add questions that I have heard in my visits to other cities and town hall meetings. Please email and share this FAQ so we can dispel much of the disinformation that is being spread by opponents.

  • Why is Macquarie mandating that everyone pay a utility fee regardless of subscription, need or income levels?

    I think Macquarie, in spite of a 100+ page report, has done a terrible job at explaining the fee. It would be better to describe it as a “calculated” fee on every household and business in a city, in that there is a calculated price Macquarie needs to charge cities for building-out and operating the fiber infrastructure. That price is calculated by counting every residence, apartment, and business location and presenting the city with the bill. It is up to the city to decide how they pay it. It could be a mandated fee on every residence regardless of income or need, or it could be adjusted based on who does want it and who doesn’t want it. If 10% of the city cannot or will not pay the fee, the price will be raised accordingly for 90% of the city that does want it. Most phone bills carry a fee titled the “Universal Service Fund”. This is to offset the cost for people whose income levels are below a threshold so they can receive essential phone service. This may be another option the city could use. They could collect it through property taxes. Macquarie does not mandate law, the city does. It is up to the cities to decide the fairest method of paying for service, in the same way most Utah cities pay for private garbage collection. Macquarie has told me they are at the mercy of the property owner when it comes to installing service. So if an owner tells them to get off the property, they will not challenge that. However, I believe that these people, if they decide to reverse their decision later, should pay a significant penalty for an otherwise no-cost installation – above $5000.

  • Why are they setting basic service to 3Mb up/down with a 20GB cap? That isn’t enough to do anything!

    I beg to differ. I am probably the last individual in the XMission offices to retain my CenturyLink DSL connection to XMission, because I’m adamant about using my own service. Due to living in the digital ghetto of Salt Lake City, it is my only cost-effective choice to retain my connection to XMission. The rest of our employees have either moved to UTOPIA cities, or use Comcast, because they want faster speeds. On my 3Mbps down/512Kbps up DSL connection, I am able to watch HD Netflix. Of course, if my daughter decides to fire up a Netflix cartoon at the same time, the whole thing crumbles to the ground. With a 20GB cap, you can watch a dozen or so Netflix movies a month, purchase Internet phone service, and do browsing and email. It is a basic Internet service in exchange for the utility fee. It is not meant to supplant or replace premium services. Moreover, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) you choose has to eat the cost of providing basic service to what will most likely be thousands of people using it, in exchange for having access to the fiber. If this Macquarie deal passes, and we begin providing basic service, XMission will be encouraging everyone on it to upgrade whenever they call with issues. If you are complaining that 20GB is not enough, then upgrade your service to the 100Mbps or 1Gbps levels. Macquarie is not setting caps on premium services, leaving it up the ISPs to set their own if any. Right now, XMission has a 1TB/month “soft” cap on UTOPIA service, meaning that we only enforce it if we have someone constantly filling the connection. At 100Mb or especially a gigabit, this is not an easy task to accomplish.

  • I paid $2750 up front for my UTOPIA installation or I am financing it over 20 years with a monthly payment. Why do I have to pay an additional $18-$20 now?

    This installation fee was initiated later by the UTOPIA managers as a different financing entity, the Utah Infrastructure Agency (UIA). Not everyone on the UTOPIA network is currently responsible for it. Macquarie has stated they will “make whole” the individuals and businesses who have participated by either crediting their utility fee against their $2750 UIA install, or if they are financing, merely making their monthly payment go away in exchange for the utility fee. Unfortunately, UTOPIA and the UIA install cost does not represent refresh or updates of the network as a whole. Although fiber itself has a very long lifetime, the electronics at each end need to be replaced to deal with wear, capacity, and reliability improvements. Once the UIA install is done being credited, subscribers will have to resume paying the utility fee. Whether this results in more out of pocket fees in 11 years than what they are paying now is speculative, but my 20 year experience has shown that prices for Internet service have only gone down.

  • A 30 year contract is a long time! Cellphones and computers were enormous and slow 30 years ago and we don’t know what the future holds! Won’t fiber optics will be a lemon in 30 years due to the advance of technology?

    The one thing that hasn’t changed in the last 30 years is the use of fiber optics. Undersea and long-haul fibers that were laid 20 years ago are still largely in use today due to the simple fact that the fiber doesn’t change, the electronics on either end does. As technology allows for more and more wavelengths to be individually discerned over fiber, its capacity increases. Although some speak of quantum communication as a deal breaker on fiber optics, quantum communication is not even at the level of Bell and Watson sending telephone signal from room to room yet. It is more science fiction than science fact at this point. Even if it does become a reality, we have a reliable, fast, efficient way of delivering up to 10Gbps in bandwidth to businesses and residences today. Single strands of fiber have been demonstrated to have real-world capacities of up to 1.4 Terabits per second. The global Internet and telcom use averages 6.5 Terabits per second. So unless you’re planning to open your own country, a single strand of fiber will last not only your lifetime, but most likely your children’s and grandchildren’s. Although I never would have predicted 1Gbps connections becoming commonplace when I started XMission 20 years ago, 10Gbps of bandwidth is extremely hard to fill. For most people’s use, a 1Gbps connection will last a very long time. Nevertheless, Macquarie is committing to the refresh and upgrade of the network to current standards. When they hand the network back to the cities in 30 years, they will have a 2045 model sports-car worth over a billion dollars in the driveway and not a broken-down antique.

  • What about wireless? DSL? Cable? Satellite? Google balloons?

    None of these technologies, although innovative at using existing infrastructure, are well suited for surpassing the 100Mbps mark over several miles. The latest DSL technology, “G.fast” can provide up to a gigabit, but only in distances under 250 meters. This is not much different than supplying an ethernet cable. The best Comcast upload speed is currently 10Mbps 20Mbps. Wireless, although good for inside your house or sporadic mobile use, does not scale well. Trying to use your phone at a large concert or event can sometimes be a frustrating experience. Imagine the entire city trying to use a wireless network at the same time and you get an idea for how limited this technology is. There simply is no data transport technology with the speed, longevity, and reliability of fiber. Yes, these other technologies have their uses and will continue to improve, but at the same time, fiber will have improved by magnitudes as well.

  • Providing Internet is not the place of government! Why are the cities even involved with this private sector activity?

    Good news, the cities and Macquarie are not providing Internet, they’re providing infrastructure. Providing infrastructure is the proper role of government. If the government does not take an active role in infrastructure, such as roads, utilities, and yes, fiber, you have a spaghetti plate of spotty coverage that serves those who have money while leaving the rest behind. Fiber as infrastructure provides a level playing field upon which anyone, including Century Link, Comcast, and Google can compete with the smallest of providers, leaving a broad choice of services up to the customer. Fiber has the ability to carry thousands of different data services efficiently, rather than cramming multiple conduits in the roads and hanging dozens of lines on poles, an entire city can be served by one, well-designed system that is leased to anyone who wants to use it. If FedEx and UPS had to build their own roads, and Delta and American Airlines had to build their own airports, how viable do you think their businesses would be? I remember the panic when a long-distance call was received at my home as a child. What brought the cost of that down? Competition. What insures competition for Internet services? Government owned municipal fiber. Nowhere else in the USA do consumers have the number of ISPs choices, the level of service, and the inexpensive prices that UTOPIA provides today.

  • Why are we sending our dollars to Australia? Why don’t we do this ourselves?

    The biggest criticism with UTOPIA is that what was promised for free has turned out not to be. Nobody looks at the roads and highways and says, “They aren’t making a profit on what is being spent.” There is an obvious economic benefit to everyone pitching in to build this infrastructure. Although there are roads I have helped pay for that I will never drive on, undoubtedly I receive some benefit from goods and services being delivered to me at a reasonable cost. I wish the federal government had the foresight and courage to divert money from refreshing nuclear bombs and unwanted tanks into a nationwide fiber project, but I’m not holding my breath. If they did, I’m sure Americans could build a network that was as transformative as the federal highway system has been. Yet there is no political will or incentive to do so, so it is left to the cities, and most cities do not have the ability or will to bond hundreds of millions of dollars to do this correctly. This is where Macquarie comes in. They have the bonding power at rates that the cities could not get, and although some of the profits will undoubtedly go to shareholders and funds in other countries, most of the work maintaining and managing the network will go back into the local Utah economy. They’re not going to import ozzie labor to do all the work here, they’re going to do what makes sense, hire locally.

  • Macquarie is an investment bank! What makes them think they can build and manage a fiber network?

    Macquarie is not going to be sending out bankers in suits to dig trenches. They have selected partners who have deep experience in fiber optics, Corning, Black and Veatch, Fujitsu, and Alcatel Lucent. Companies with decades of experience in building thousands of miles of fiber network.

  • There is no regulation on this private company and their actions. They will run roughshod over the cities and take their money. What guarantees their performance and service levels?

    Regulation is essentially a contract between commercial companies and the government that is routinely inspected by committee. The Macquarie deal will most certainly have an open, detailed contract that will hold them to service levels defined by the cities and the ISPs. I will actively be working and advocating to make sure the cities and the ISPs receive the best possible deal. It can not be emphasized enough that Macquarie is investing more than $300 MILLION DOLLARS into this project and they will not see a return off of that for many years. The cities will retain oversight with a UTOPIA style board, with more members than the Public Service Commission. It is in their best interest to require performance out of their partners and provide citizens with an excellent infrastructure. If they don’t, they lose their investment and control of a very valuable asset reverts to the cities, ensured by the eventual agreed upon contract. You don’t get that kind of deal with the Public Service Commission and Century Link.

  • Will this deal prevent a Google buyout?

    Google has looked at the UTOPIA network prior to the Macquarie offer. It is my opinion that they would only take it over if it was given to them and they could be the only ISP on the network. They will not assume the UTOPIA debt. They will not build a ubiquitous network that services all. What is not mentioned is that nothing prevents Google from participating on UTOPIA or the Macquarie network. I cannot answer why they don’t.

  • I am concerned that leaving the network in the hands of one entity, Macquarie, will have dire effects on net neutrality.

    Net neutrality is not damaged by one infrastructure holder, it is damaged by an infrastructure holder also being the sole provider. The reason Comcast and Verizon are able to get away with their net neutrality abuses against Netflix is due to the fact that their customers have no choice. If XMission decided to throttle Netflix rather than provide an excellent connection, our customers would leave us in droves. Captive customers is what enables Comcast and Verizon to extort content providers. Macquarie will be held to providing the same level of service to all data providers, by contract. Any preference will be damaging to their position and their “arms length” management of the infrastructure. XMission is committed to net neutrality and providing our customers with excellent connectivity to all destinations, regardless of size or usage.

  • Why is Macquarie demanding cities exclude any other proposals while they are doing their studies and preparing their offer? Something stinks about that!

    When you sell or buy a house, there is a period of time that you go restrict other offers so due diligence can be done. While you are spending money on inspectors and contractors, would it be fair if the deal went to someone else during that time period? Macquarie is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on doing their due diligence. In spite of this, they have allowed a local company to present an offer, behind closed doors, with no public input. Contrast this to a lengthy report and extensive public meetings, which will continue through four milestones this year. I was there when the first backroom deal was announced in Provo. This is not a backroom deal, and Macquarie has not attempted to hide anything. This is as public, transparent, and open as it gets.

  • Will my out-of-pocket cost for my existing UTOPIA service go up?

    If you are not an aforementioned UIA customer, it will most likely remain near or the same as it is now. I can not commit to the pricing I will give my customers, because the wholesale pricing has not been set. Macquarie has committed to giving a wholesale pricing outline in milestone 2, which will allow ISPs to be able to give a similar outline for retail pricing. I am committed to making that as close to existing prices, on the residential level as possible, and making business pricing more competitive in the marketplace.

  • Why insist on ubiquity?

    Ubiquity has always been the mission of UTOPIA. In some ways, it has been its failing, in that they have attempted to serve neighborhoods that do not have the take rates of cherry-picked areas. I believe it is important that everyone has access to the Internet, so they can communicate, study, and apply for a job. It is an economic equalizer. This is a significant difference between UTOPIA and other for-profit networks that will serve the areas that have a take rate that insures profit. I realize there are people who don’t use or want the Internet, but do they believe that only the economically capable should have access to the Internet? Do they believe that the infirm or elderly should be required to go to the library to Facetime/Skype with their grandkids or their doctor? I don’t. Ubiquity is important and the Internet is essential to taking advantage of the benefits that modern society and technology bring.

  • What about the hundreds of millions of dollars of existing UTOPIA debt?

    A key component to my support of Macquarie was understanding the fate of this debt that currently has little hope of being paid off by the cities. Although Macquarie is not assuming the debt, they are eliminating any operating shortfalls that the cities have been asked by UTOPIA to pay, and from day one of selling premium services on the network, they have committed to at least 50% of the wholesale service charged to ISPs going back to the participating cities. Macquarie estimates that if there is a 30% to 40% take rate of premium services, the debt will be covered. Anything more than that will be gravy that can be applied to other city projects or utilized to lower the city’s Macquarie utility fee bill. If the Macquarie deal does not pass, citizens remain on the hook for roughly $8/month to pay this debt, while the UTOPIA network does not expand, does not update, and eventually has more and more equipment failures. No other offer, no other strategy, gives a light at the end of the debt tunnel for the cities. This is it.

  • My favorite comment from last night came from an elderly gentleman who was around when Murray decided it needed to install sewer and water lines. He said there were critics then who said they didn’t want the service because they had septic tanks and wells. He affirmed how ignorant that sounded today and said cities needed to move into the future. I couldn’t agree more.

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23 thoughts on “Frequently Asked Questions about Macquarie and UTOPIA

  • Josh says:

    Great reply Pete to the misinformation given last night in Murray. Now to find ways to get them to read it. The more tech savvy children and grandchildren of those in attendance need to have a heart-to-heart with grandpa and grandma, mom and dad.

  • Joshua says:

    Great article, with one small correction. Comcast has 20Mbps upload speed options, at least on the business side.

  • Elayne says:

    Thanks for clearly answering the questions I had about this issue. So glad I found your post.

  • Dave says:

    Thanks for the writeup after the Murray Meeting. I disagree with Josh above, his implication was that the meeting was all old people who needed their children and grand children to set them straight. The very first question from “An Old Guy” was that the City should provide a spreadsheet to clearly show the citizens the costs associated with each of the options the City has. Great question or statement!!

    I’m still of the opinion that I don’t want to pay for something I don’t want. I have great service from CenturyLink, my brother has great service from Comcast. I only have to call one place when and if I have a problem, which very seldom happens. I know from experience what happens when you have two vendors providing the service, a lot of finger pointing while the customer is left frustrated.

    Subjecting me to pay a Utility Fee for 30 years for something I don’t want imposes a burden on me I shouldn’t have to have.

    And finally, I don’t need Fiber, I have great speed, I download movies, I stream movies, I upload photos, I have all the speed I need, I don’t need Fiber. If I find I need faster service all I have to do is call one of two vendors and order the upgrade and pay the additional cost, that is the way business should be, not impose it on the public, the tax paying public.

    I wonder what will happen when I refuse to allow UTOPIA to come onto my property, and also refuse to allow them to attach to my home. They might have a harder time collecting the fee. I think I’ll discuss with all of the 15 Neighbors I have who are in agreement with me, they don’t want a Utility Fee and don’t way UTOPIA.

    Thanks for all the work you put into responding to the many questions that were put forward at the Murray meeting, of course it’s a boon for Xmission if this thing goes through!!

    I’m hoping that Murray makes a smart decision and finally stop this thing in it’s tracks!!

    I don’t mean to be so negative but that really is the way I feel!!

  • Rich says:

    I have to admit that the proposed <b20GB hard cap on the basic service is rather weak. Rather see only 1-2Mbps speeds for the basic service but w/o any hard cap!

  • Peter Nyhlen says:

    That’s great that Dave has fast, problem free service in Murray. I wish that were the norm everywhere. That’s not the case in my 57 year old house in Roy. My neighbor’s don’t even know what broadband is. You have to tell them it’s “that internet thing“. I wonder how many of them bail out because of the poor line quality. They must be original to the house to be that bad. We will probably be moving away from that this year. I guess the closest Utopia city would be Layton. Is there any place I can get a map of homes where Utopia is currently available there. If I can’t find that we will probably end up in Clinton.

  • Tim says:

    Peter,

    UTOPIA is currently available in Brigham City, Centerville, Layton, Lindon, Midvale, Murray, Orem, Payson, Tremonton, and West Valley City.

    This and other information can be found on XMission’s UTOPIA webpage, located here: http://xmission.com/utopia

    If you have any further questions, please give XMission a call at 877-964-7746 or email sales@xmission.com. Thanks!

  • Scott says:

    I am currently a Utopia (Sumofiber) customer in Centerville. Previously we had Comcast. After suffering for years with intermittent outages and ever-increasing charges from comcast I went with a Utopia provider and am saving ~$60 per month for phone and internet service. My comcast service provided about 20 Mbps service. My Sumofiber service is ~850Mbps up and down. simultanious data backup services and movie streaming are now nearly instantaneous. I no longer wait for movies to queue up. Our house now has Cat6 cable connecting TVs, AppleTV, and computers together. Bottom line, it’s openned up a whole new world of data and media possibilities AND I am saving money over what I used to pay to Comcast. One by one my neighbors have added Utopia services and no one wants to go back to “the old days”. I image 100 years ago when cities said they wanted to tax for new Water and Sewer systems there were people who said they wanted to keep their outhouses and still draw water from the river with a bucket rather than pay a modest fee for services. When Cities said they were going to tax us for repairing roads I imagine some people cried foul becuase they would be paying a tax for roads they might not use. I’m glad my city has provided this infrastructure and I hope the Macquarie plan is adopted

  • Dave Pettingill says:

    Thank you Peter and Scott for your responses and information. I appreciated reading your posts!!

  • Kris Nosack says:

    Pete, I’ll admit I’m surprised you’re for the Macquarie deal. It seems to put a lot on the ISPs: bandwidth for basic service (free) customers, wiring from demarc to customer’s home network, etc. When I read the Macquarie proposal I was concerned that ISPs would think it’s a bad deal and not sign on, yet you are bullish on the prospects, aren’t there risks for XMission? For instance, what if most customers stay at the basic (free) level?

  • Pete Ashdown says:

    Undoubtedly, a majority will stay at the free level. Servicing those customers’ bandwidth needs is close to what we already do on DSL services, and we have been questioning lately whether DSL is a wash at this point (no, we’re not going to get rid of it until CLink does). However, if a basic service customer calls for support, pushing them towards upgrade will consistently be done.

    There are certainly risks for us. Although Macquarie will kick back $50 on every installation, we do have to gear up to handle this. We will also be charging for anything beyond wiring from the demarc. The trade is that we get access to a much larger market and an infrastructure manager with guaranteed execution and assured service levels.

  • Mike says:

    Dave,

    Sorry, but you are wrong.

    Do you object paying for schools? Should those who have no children be exempted from paying for schools? What about roads? Should those without a car be exempted from paying for roads, because “they don’t need them or use them” ? You actually help to pay for a phone line to my house with every phone bill, even though I don’t even own a standard phone, through the “Universal Service Fee” which helps to subsidize rates, but also us used to cover the cost of wiring “universally”.

    You mentioned having to place multiple phone calls, with each provider placing the blame on the other one. I’ve dealt with that, and it sucks. Interestingly, the Macquarie proposal specifically mentions that, and states that under the proposal, the ISP will be the only customer point of contact. If there’s an issue at the network level, it’s the ISP’s job to notify the network (if they don’t know about the issue already).

    You mention that you get good data rates from CenturyLink. I’m glad for you. I used to live in Orem (which despite being a Utopia city, I couldn’t get Utopia). I rarely got the advertised rate, which was barely enough to support 1 netflix stream. When my son needed internet too, good luck getting anything streaming in watchable quality. In addition, while I was willing to pay more, for more bandwidth, despite C-L advertising much higher bandwidth as available, every time i tried to get that higher rate I was told “sorry, that’s not actually available in your area”. As far as I can tell, the “up to 40Mbps” you see on billboards all over utah isn’t actually available anywhere in Utah. Worse still, you pay a rate based on the speed tier you fall into. So “up to 20Mbps” is one rate. But based on your service, you might only be able to get 12Mbps. You don’t pay less because you are getting less. At least they tell you at the time you place your order “based on your service address, your maximum rate will be X”… but then again, you’ll only actually GET that on Blue Moons in the months of February or June, or the sixth Tuesday of every month, but only when the Moon is full.

    If you are happy with your 3mpbs service from C-L, then I would think you’d be ecstatic over the fact that for the utility fee (~8/month) you could get internet for no additional cost. Pretty sure even with a Bundle price from C-L, you will pay more than $8/month. Want to keep C-L service? Call them up and tell them you will keep them, but they need to credit you the $8/month utility fee, and it will be a net wash for you.

    Before you send the fiber installers away, you might also want to consider that fiber access is something that WILL add resale value to your house. More importantly, if your house is the only house on the block without fiber, it will make your house more difficult to sell. For me, fiber access was one of the most important factors on the house we bought. (second only to my wife’s approval of the house…:D)

    Pete, thank you for this article. and thank you for fighting the battle against US Worst I mean Quest I mean CenturyLink and TCI I mean AT&T I mean Comcast I mean Xfinity for so long. Now, if only we could do something about the 1TB cap on gigabit service…

  • Clark Snelgrove says:

    I am very grateful for the information provided. I go today to talk with the mayor of Orem and hope encourage his support for finishing the Utopia project with or without the help of Macquire. I believe that the only way to have a good internet is to have an open and ubiquitous one. I am very concern that large companies like Comcast, Verizon, and Google are not doing their best to really provide good service, just to make a profit. They are more interested in controlling the system then improving it. I have one question about why there are not any of the ISP on the Utopia system that provide Internet TV and other content like Google is doing in Provo? I believe that many non-technical people don’t really see the technical advantages of fiber unless they are being offered more content with it. Perhaps this is a reason that some people have not connected to the Utopia network where it is available. Any thoughts on this?
    Thanks,
    Clark Snelgrove
    Orem, Utah

  • John Craig says:

    There’s one other problem with Dave’s “hoping that Murray makes a smart decision and finally stop this thing in it’s tracks!!”

    It’s a bit late for that, isn’t it? Murray’s already on the hook for a huge chunk of debt for UTOPIA. I suppose there’s the option to default, but that’s going to have serious consequences for decades–and while I’m not aware of the exact nature of the contract that Murray (or the other UTOPIA cities) have to backstop the bonds that funded the partial build-out, I think you have to look at this as a way to deal with the commitment your city has already made. There are, of course, other alternatives: cut police and fire; reduce road maintenance; close the library; and so on. But I do not believe there is a “stop it in its tracks” option. The UTOPIA cities have contracted for the debt. The only question is how to deal with that. Some way or another it’ll come out of all our hides. The best thing to do, IMO, is to take advantage of what your city has already committed to and use it–even if you have to grit your teeth for a while as you’re doing it. For me, the fiber is fantastic; I definitely wouldn’t want to go back to anything else.

    Oh, BTW, I can tell you from many years of experience that with Xmission, at least, I’ve never had any issue with having to call anyone else if there was a problem with the network (of which there have been few, gratefully). The folks at Xmission have absolutely been on top of things–if there’s a problem with the network infrastructure, they generally have a message on the support line explaining that the network problem is being worked on and they are coordinating with the network people. And yes, you can still talk to someone even if the problem is not theirs.

    WRT to Clark Snelgrove’s question about TV on the fiber, if it’s built out fully, it’ll be a lot more likely that providers will have an incentive to offer more types of services. On the other hand, the streaming services are often more flexible than a typical cable-style TV package anyway and most of the content is available.

    John Craig
    Orem, Utah

  • K C says:

    No offense Dave … but you’ve bought into a campaign of misinformation and deception manufactured by corporate moguls that do not have your best interests at heart — they are more concerned about their own bottom line. How else can you explain the fact that currently, we (citizens of the U.S., arguably the greatest nation in the history of the world) pay twice as much for internet services but get only 1/10th the speed of most other industrialized nations? Competition is our only way out. Please think twice before you align yourself with the very monopolies that will eventually rob you of some the freedoms you now cherish. Every true capitalist understands that to fly you first need a little boost to get you off the ground. I don’t know if Macquarie is the answer but I do know CenturyLink, Comcast, and Verizon is not.

  • Christopher says:

    I personally have the 1Gbps connection. I have been in Murray for 10+ years. Before Utopia came in I was willing to drop big money into a Fiber line to my home (I had talk to a city official that was working with me to do it) I had to fight Utopia to install the fiber into my condo building when it was a spitting distance from my house.
    Now almost everyone of those units has a fiber line because of it. When we moved we purposely found a house in Murray to have fiber. Now I have a brother that is looking to move to Murray to have fiber also.
    The great thing about our country is that we have the freedom to do what we fill that we need… if you feel that an increase is unwarranted then you have a right to move. I know tons of people that would love to move into Murray… if it cost them more to pay to have a really great internet service they would gladly do it.
    Plus if you look at it.. The basic 100Mbps fiber connections are cheaper and fast/more reliable then cable or DLS. Even to get a comparable 100Mbps with the cable would be double to triple the cost.

  • Mike says:

    Clark,

    Veracity is one of the UTOPIA ISPs, and they do offer IPTV (ie, through your fiber connection) service.

    I really can’t comment on why ISPs don’t offer video service, but there’s a lot of costs involved at the head end, and since Comcast and CenturyLink refuse to participate…. In this market Comcast would be an obvious choice for video, but in other markets, CenturyLink has an IPTV offering. They don’t have it in the Utah market because their internet speeds are horrible. Because there’s no real competition, there’s little incentive to improve, either. Seriously, if I had to stream all of my TV over an “up to 20Mbps” connection that rarely achieved more than 12Mbps, I’d go crazy. And heaven forbid we had two people try to watch TV. “Hello, Buffering!”

    Honestly, I think people don’t really believe that 100Mbps is 100Mps. I should have taken a picture of my old computer running Speedtest.net at 98Mbps up and 99Mpbs down :D Although at work I easily top that, it’s pretty impressive for a home connection!

  • Vi says:

    I have no idea how this all works. I just know that Xmission has worked better for me than any others I have tried. I am a great grand mother and most of my friends my age will not even use the internet.
    They are missing so much but will not try anything new.
    So far, Xmission and Utopia have been able to help me understand how this all works for me.
    Not the technical part but the every day part of using this new found way of communication. As far as I am concerned it is better than snail mail and fiberless by a long shot.
    So hopefully things will work out to the good of everyone. I just wish more older folks will look into what is happening in the ‘Now’ and not in the past. Jusy a thought.

  • Peter says:

    Thank you for sharing, Vi. I have found the same thing among my friends and I’m not even retired yet.

    What I find frustrating is trying to find an existing home with fiber. You ask a real estate agent and they tell you: “Yes, CenturyLink has finished their fiber deployment to this community!” They just don’t understand the difference. Unfortunately CL has won the public relations war. I detest paying a company that works against my own interests.

  • Clark Snelgrove says:

    After talking with the Orem mayor he is against forcing people to pay for the Macquare deal. I have mixed feelings about all of this. Forcing participation seems contrary to the freedom that we want from the internet. However if there is no other way to get the network built out I think that we should bit the bullet and take the Macquare deal. Building out the network WILL be a very important step when we look back and ask the question “is a fiber network a good idea?” If we don’t finish the network there will be a time when we will say to ourselves “we were really stupid not to have done it when we had the chance”. I hope that the hide sight of thirty years doesn’t make us regret not building the network out.

    One last comment it seems to me that one of Utopia’s biggest problem is not that it didn’t provide a good product but that it didn’t see itself as having the responsibility of selling the service to the residence of the cities. I have heard stories from many who wanted to sign up but couldn’t and stories of those who could sign up because service was in their neighborhood but didn’t because they didn’t understand how good the deal was that they are being offered. I know for sure that Comcast nor Google will not offer of their own free will this good of a deal.

    Clark

  • Clark Snelgrove says:

    I just talked last night with councilman Spencer of Orem. He helped me to understand that the Macquarie proposal is the only one that has been made. I strongly believe in finishing the network but isn’t premature to accept the Macquarie proposal when we have not even asked for other proposals. Mayor Brunst and councilman Spencer of Orem both have suggest that there are other who might be interested in making a proposal if given the chance. Macquarie has require the Utopia management to not make other request for proposal during the early stages of their proposal. I understand why this is good for them but not why it is good for us. Orem was able to an exception to this exclusive proposal restriction and is talking with others about having them submit proposals. I believe that we should get other proposals before we accept the Macquarie proposal. If it is the only option or the best option then we should me move forward with commitment.

    Clark Snelgrove
    Orem, Utah

  • Brian says:

    UTOPIA goes dark and so do I. I’ve tried both Century Link and Comcast, and can’t get reliable service that performs worth a dime from either. No UTOPIA and I’m looking at my cell phone as my primary/only internet source.

    Xmission + UTOPIA are amazing.