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News and comments on community broadband networks, the communities deploying them and the technologies that support them. Published by Denise Frey and Al Bonnyman.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2003


Utah broadband update

Utah has become a busy place for public broadband projects. Here are some updates:

UTOPIA is the large project to deploy publicly-owned FTTH (fiber to the home) systems in 18 Utah cities:
  • First, a correction: I noted in an earlier post on the UTOPIA project that the project managers had selected PON (passive optical network) equipment from Allied Telesyn. This was incorrect -- the Allied Telesyn equipment being used is an active system as this system description notes. (Many thanks to Jorge Ortiz at Interfibra for pointing out this mistake.)

  • UTOPIA representatives were out to discuss the project in Cedar City (1, 2) in the southwest corner of the state. As usual, incumbent cable TV and telco providers were out in force to speak against it. This is ironic considering that Qwest could not even bother to build a redundant fiber link to this corner of the state (St. George leaders finally got construction on a second link started by another company this fall: 1, 2, 3)

  • The UTOPIA organization issued a good white paper describing the project and its economics. The project has taken some criticism, especially from the Deseret Morning News, which ran an editorial entitled "Leave UTOPIA to the dreamers". Backers responded with an Op-Ed piece of their own -- "Bring on the bandwidth: UTOPIA not just a dream" and circulated an e-mail to Utah political leaders defending the project. While support for UTOPIA remains strong in many of the smaller towns that first made up UTOPIA, some politicians in Salt Lake City are reportedly getting cold feet. Salt Lake City was one of the last cities to join the UTOPIA project.

  • Three good Utah blogs that cover the UTOPIA project are Utah Politics (1, 2), David Fletcher's Government and Technology Weblog (1) and Windley's Enterprise Computing Weblog (1, 2).

  • The Deseret Morning News ran an update on Provo's iProvo municipal FTTH project.

Other Utah broadband news:
  • CeriStar announced it will be developing a privately-owned FTTH system for a planned residential community in Genola, Utah. Ceristar is also deploying FTTH to 4 planned communities in the St. George area.

  • The City of American Fork is running a fiber cable to nearby Spanish Fork as a backup link to the Internet for its' FTTH system (1, 2). This would also allow American Fork to tie into Spanish Fork's very successful broadband system and potentially share programming or head-end resources. Like Provo, neither Spanish Fork and American Fork are participating in the UTOPIA project since all 3 already had municipal broadband systems under development when the UTOPIA initiative began.

  • Karl Bode published a good article on Utah fiber projects.


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