UTOPIA customers receive rate slash

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 1:34 PM

Bryon Saxton, Standard-Examiner Staff

WEST VALLEY CITY — Effective Monday, UTOPIA reduced by 78 percent the price of its Internet connection to all its residential customers, which includes about 2,500 connections in Layton, Centerville, Brigham City, Perry and Tremonton, where UTOPIA is available.

The lower price enables 1-gig speed in more homes, making current technologies more efficient and future ones possible, said Kris McBride, UTOPIA spokesman.

The open-access fiber-optic network formed by a group of Utah cities to provide critical advanced communications infrastructure to their residents, together with its Internet Service Providers, announced on Monday the drastic price reduction of its “blazing fast” 1 gigabit-per-second residential service.

This residential service was first introduced at a $299 monthly fee one year ago, said Gary Jones, Chief Operating Officer for UTOPIA.

The 78 percent price reduction is due to increased demand, network enhancement and less cost for delivery, Jones said of the monthly service being slashed to as low as $64.95 a month.

“We believe we’ll see new customers, and that several of our current customers will upgrade," Jones said of the service that has a total of 11,000 subscribers across 11 different cities that make up UTOPIA.

“The best way to make UTOPIA successful is for more people to use it,” Jones said of the network, which cities build the infrastructure for, but service providers utilize in reaching the consumer.

“We are not completely build out in every city. But where we do have access to the network they can get this service,” he said.

Seven Utah based Internet service providers (ISPs) on the UTOPIA network offering 1-gigabit service for as low as $64.95 per month are: Beehive Broadband, Brigham.net, InfoWest, SumoFiber, Veracity Networks, WebWave, and XMission.

This change reflects the collaboration of UTOPIA and its partner ISPs to provide a wide range of options for consumers, as well as UTOPIA’s commitment to continually upgrade and improve its network, Jones said.

Because of the vision and foresight of its member cities, UTOPIA is one of the few networks in the country capable of delivering 1 gigabit-per-second service (upload and download) to residential customers, he said.

Ultrahigh-speed broadband connections are fast becoming the standard for Internet communications such as streaming video, social media, telecommuting, distance learning, video conferencing, voice over IP, and much more, Jones said.

“Gigabit speeds are quickly becoming a necessity for residential users,” said Drew Peterson, CEO of Veracity Networks. “With so many connected devices in every home, the average speed of 8 megabits just won’t get the job done anymore. We’re excited to bring gigabit speeds to more of our subscribers.”

Monday’s announcement validates the foresight UTOPIA cities had in developing this vital infrastructure, Jones said.

The Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency, more commonly known as UTOPIA, consists of a group of Utah cities that joined together to form an ultra-high-speed fiber-optic network and provide critical advanced communications infrastructure to their residents.

For more information on UTOPIA including member cities and business and residential service providers, visit www.utopianet.org.

Contact reporter Bryon Saxton at 801-625-4244 or bsaxton@standard.net, or follow him on Twitter at @BryonSaxton.

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