UTOPIA is an ‘open access’ FTTH network in 16 Utah cities. As UTOPIA puts it, “your UTOPIA connection is part of your home; it’s not owned by your service provider.” Nine different service providers offer broadband, voice, and/or video services over UTOPIA’s facilities.
It’s probably one of the highest profile ‘open access’ networks in the country. So it makes sense that UTOPIA is now making a bid to bring Google to town. Google’s recently announced FTTH initiative makes sense to UTOPIA’s leaders. “Few communities are poised like the cities of UTOPIA to offer a real partnership in fiber deployment,” says Todd Marriott, UTOPIA’s Executive Director. “I applaud Google’s efforts to make this necessary infrastructure available and to encourage the kind of innovation that can only come over fiber-to-the-premise technology. It’s encouraging to see that our vision of a gig connection to every home, which we’ve been talking about for the last year, is shared by Google.”
UTOPIA is not without controversy. It has its fair share of critics and has been through a business model or two before arriving at its current state. Its run into financial trouble and been on the brink of collapse in the past.
UTOPIA is pulling out all the stops, encouraging its users to join the crusade to bring Google to Utah. The UTOPIA network passes about 500K homes. It could make for an interesting partnership. One thing UTOPIA has going for it is the network is already there, saving Google from the expense of building one. They may view UTOPIA as an excellent broadband ‘petri dish’ opportunity, allowing them to experiment with all kinds of applications and technologies.