What is UTOPIA?
UTOPIA (Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency) is a state-of-the-art fiber optic network owned by its member communities and built to benefit residents and businesses. UTOPIA’s fiber optic infrastructure carries information at the speed of light. We operate on an open access model which means we own and manage the infrastructure, but lease the lines to private Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who then deliver services to subscribers. There are currently 11 pledging cities on the network.
We will be the first to admit that the roll-out of UTOPIA to every address in Orem has proven challenging. The history of UTOPIA is long, complicated, and controversial but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
It is currently projected that all of Orem will be built out and have access to the UTOPIA network by the end of 2022.
The Utah Infrastructure Agency (UIA) is an inter-local agency formed in June 2010 with 9 of the 11 original UTOPIA pledging member cities. The UIA was formed as a funding mechanism to continue out the growth of the network.
Orem joined UTOPIA because the City Council understood the importance of broadband and how the demand would grow exponentially in the years to come. They also realized how this technology could benefit their community. In 2002, Orem along with 10 other Utah cities formed into an inter-local agreement.
When UTOPIA first started back in 2002, 11 cities, known as the “pledging” cities, bonded $185 million for construction costs using sales tax pledges as collateral to secure the bond. Unfortunately, due to several factors, UTOPIA is currently not covering the debt service on the bond, but hopes, through subscriber growth, that UTOPIA will start contributing towards this debt in the future.