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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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Thursday, January 29, 2004

 

Utah: Senator introduces bill to try to scuttle UTOPIA

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that a bill has been introduced in the state Senate to ban cities from financially backing the 18-city UTOPIA FTTH (fiber to the home) project. if passed, this would probably have the effect of killing the project by raising financing costs to 12%.

This is revealing since the UTOPIA project was carefully crafted to meet all the onerous requirements the Utah legislature put on municipal broadband projects after incumbents Qwest and Comcast were so infuriated by Provo's iProvo project. They did not quite have the nerve to outright outlaw any competition with the Qwest and Comcast monopolies, so instead they quietly crafted a set of requirements that they thought would serve the same end.

The leaders of the 18 cities, working with the management of the UTOPIA project nevertheless managed to develop a very workable plan that would meet these laws and still bring real choice and advanced technology to hundreds of thousands of Utahns.

So now the opponents of competition, openly marching to the incumbents' drum, are back to the drawing board to develop even more restrictive laws.
"Qwest Communications, which provides most Utahns with their residential telephone service and will be one of Utopia's primary competitors, supports SB66 and believes it is good legislation. It also participated in the drafting of the proposed bill."

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