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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Fiber optic infrastructure options explored by city council

Apr 30, 2022 09:49AM ● By Cassie Goff

By Cassie Goff | [email protected]

On March 22, UTOPIA Fiber’s Executive Director and CEO Roger Timmerman visited the Cottonwood Heights City Council to discuss the possibility of developing their infrastructure throughout the city. UTOPIA is a fiber-optic infrastructure operating on an open access community fiber network.

UTOPIA constructs, develops, manages, and owns the network but leases the infrastructure out to a variety of different services. UTOPIA Fiber is an interlocal entity by the Utah State Code definition.

“We build fiber, but you don’t get service from us,” said Timmerman. “We allow different services to utilize the network so there is still competition.”

Timmerman offered the metaphor of an airport. “Many different airlines compete with each other within an airport,” he said.

Currently, 16 different providers compete on UTOPIA’s system. Every customer can choose from the 16 services offered which are: Veracity Networks, Brigham.NET, XMission, SenaWave, FirstDigital Telecom, Voonami, Sumo FIBER, InfoWest, 1Wire Fiber, Beehive Broadband, Intellipop, Fibernet, Rise Broadband, CentraCom, Mereo Networks, and Advanced Stream.

As fiber lines are direct to every residential address, customers have the capability for 10 gigs of speed, unlimited usage, and no data caps. For residential customers, UTOPIA charges a base of $30 per month. Total monthly cost does depend on the individual services opted into.

Timmerman mentioned how UTOPIA can run indefinitely without power, which is important nowadays as residential use tends to exceed commercial use. He mentioned peak time for residential data use is 10 p.m. as everyone within a home is working, gaming, or streaming. 

UTOPIA Fiber has bonded for $400 million in projects which are paid through subscription revenues. There is no cost to the city.

UTOPIA Fiber’s infrastructure does not require micro trenching as they utilize traditional underground boring. They use a horizontal directional drill that cuts 1-3 feet deep. With this method, UTOPIA can run indefinitely without power.

“Microtrenching is an anti-competitive method of construction,” Timmerman said. Once someone microtrenches within an area, no one else can cut into the microtrenches.

“We’ve never seen anyone overbuild us,” Timmerman said.

UTOPIA Fiber has 45,000 subscribers with their network spanning the Wasatch Front. UTOPIA Fiber is already developed in Brigham City, Centerville, Layton, Lindon, Murray, Midvale, Orem, Payson, Tremonton, Perry, and West Valley City. They also partner with Woodland Hills, Idaho Falls, Morgan, West Point, Clearfield, Pleasant Grove, Syracuse, Cedar Hills, Bozeman, and Santa Clara.

UTOPIA Fiber has already designed all of Cottonwood Heights. “We have designed your whole city. We know every foot, every box, every connection that would go in, what it would cost, and how long it would take us,” Timmerman said.

Mayor Mike Weichers mentioned Google Fiber and Century Link have been invited to give similar presentations before the city council makes any sort of decision.  

“We do have the top Google rating score, even better than Google,” Timmerman shared.