LAYTON -- A $16 million grant from federal stimulus funds will allow Layton and seven other cities in UTOPIA to connect public facilities to high-speed Internet.
UTOPIA, the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency, was notified Thursday it would receive money from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. The grant is anticipated to produce more than 200 new jobs, complete an additional 20 percent of the needed network infrastructure and provide growth in eight of UTOPIA's 16 cities.
"The White House has joined national broadband leaders in recognizing the importance of UTOPIA's model in providing fiber to communities," UTOPIA board chairman Kane Loader, Midvale city manager, said in a news release. "This award is another big step in the series of successes UTOPIA and its management team have had in recent years."
The grant was awarded to begin connecting nearly 400 schools, libraries, medical and health care providers, public safety entities, community college locations, government offices and other important community institutions in sections of Centerville, Layton, Perry, Payson, Midvale, Murray, Orem and West Valley City.
"This grant means that UTOPIA is finally coming into Perry city," said Perry Mayor Jerry Nelson. "That's a reality that has us very excited."
Those cities will receive services because they joined the stimulus fund application process this spring, said UTOPIA spokeswoman Elizabeth Vincent. The cities will have to have a total of $7.2 million in matching funds to receive the federal grant, she said.
"All the cities in UTOPIA are really excited by the receipt of this grant," Vincent said. "It's good news for all the cities, even the ones who are not included, because this makes network growth happen faster and even more projects can be completed."
Vincent did not know when the agency will receive the money because details remain to be completed, she said.
The agency asked member cities for an additional $20 million commitment this summer to expand the network at a faster pace. Vincent said the grant will not negate the need for the bond money.
"In fact, this proves the need for the bond even more," she said. "The bond was intended to let the network expand, so this just leverages the money they've already committed to the project."