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“UTOPIA Just Couldn’t Do It For Us”

August 11, 2014

iStock_000005643842MediumNeed more evidence that UTOPIA, Utah’s 11-city government owned broadband network (GON) has failed?

While city leaders raised taxes to keep the network going – and are contemplating a takeover that would further increase fees – residents of Orem, Utah, one of the cities covered by UTOPIA, are now on record saying the network has failed them.

The Genelle Pugmire Daily Herald quotes Brad Hixson, who owns an apartment complex in Orem, and told the Daily Herald, “UTOPIA had fiber-optic pipeline to us for 12 years and couldn’t do it for us.”

Hixson turned to a new company called Vicidiem, which has developed a device that allows consumers to easily adjust their high-speed bandwidth based on need, to service his apartment complex. How does the service work? Vicidiem’s Joe Brown explained, “We turn up Internet and manage the network. We can also turn up video and phone services if the owner desires.” When consumers aren’t using the capacity the Daily Herald says it “goes back to a technology pot or cloud.”

Apartment complex owner Hixson said, “Vicidiem solved my only problem at the apartments. There is a heavy, heavy need for bandwidth.” (The apartment complex is near a university and many students live there.) Hixson said the service is “cost effective” and that he is “thrilled” with the company’s level of service.

Another advantage? As the Daily Herald explains, “[T]hose who don’t want it don’t have to have it.” (Under the takeover plan UTOPIA is currently considering, all residents would have to pay a $20 fee regardless of whether the subscribe to UTOPIA’s service.)

Right now the service is limited to certain areas of Orem, and individuals can’t yet subscribe on their own (though that option is coming soon!), but we think this example is just one more that illustrates how the private sector is leading the way to offer unique solutions to consumers’ high-speed broadband demands.