CENTERVILLE – This city has become the first in the state where all single-family homes and all businesses can connect to municipally owned fiber Internet infrastructure.
UTOPIA, the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency, finished the bulk of its building in the city this month. Construction in Layton, which is also part of the interlocal agency, has not yet been finished.
Many public institutions in both cities have been connected. In Layton, UTOPIA helped connect the Weber State University Layton campus and the institution’s primary campus in Ogden, it said in a press release. In Centerville, it has connected schools, the city and even provides free lightning-fast wireless connection from many parks.
Meanwhile, the 12-year-old public company is mired in debt. It’s sister agency, the Utah Infrastructure Agency, took out a $65 million bond, which is being used to fund operations.
The UIA was created with only some of the cities that joined to create UTOPIA. They have been financed with some subscriber revenue, but mostly with federal government funds and the proceeds of bonds taken out against city sales tax revenue. The pair of entities was on the receiving end of a scathing audit this summer.
Last month, the agency made a bond payment with 100 percent subscriber proceeds and was able to put off a second round of debt funding, said its spokesman Jason Russell.
“We aren’t set up to be a moneymaking endeavor, so obviously we’re trying to be very cost-conscious and manage our funds and be frugal that way,” he said. “We do have hopes and expectations of turning things in a positive direction, of course. We’re trying to get to operational break-even and trying to be self-sufficient that way.”
For more information check out the Nov.22 edition of Davis Clipper.