StimulatingBroadband.com 08/18/2010 San Francisco - The Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA), the often star-crossed high capacity open access network owned by 16 cities in the Salt Lake City metro market, was today awarded $16.229 million in broadband stimulus funds by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“The White House has joined national broadband leaders in recognizing the importance of UTOPIA’s model in providing fiber to communities,” said UTOPIA Board Chair Kane Loader, City Manager of Midvale in a press release of earlier today. “This award is another big step in the series of successes UTOPIA, and its management team, have had in recent years. And it’s a bright indication of many more to come. Government built open fiber, with private sector service providers utilizing the network, is the telecom infrastructure of the future,” he said.
“Our grant application was strong because we’ve proven the need for the UTOPIA network through the innovative, sustainable model we completed in Brigham City,” says Todd Marriott, UTOPIA’s Executive Director. “This grant will accelerate our ability to expand the network and leverage the cities’ continued investment in the network; it proves the financing we’re seeking is more crucial than ever. But, just as importantly, this grant ensures that the UTOPIA network continues to expand economic development, education, public safety, telemedicine and other opportunities for these cities.”
The grant, issued under the Comprehensive Community Infrastructure (CCI) program of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is targeted to connect upwards of 400 community anchor institutions in parts of Perry, Payson, Midvale, Murray, Centerville, Layton, Orem, and West Valley City.
“This grant will help us bring the fastest Internet in the country to more West Valley City homes and businesses sooner,” said Mike Winder, mayor of the largest UTOPIA city. “I personally talked with several state officials about this project, as well as Vice President Biden and White House staff, and appreciate the support we received from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development on our application for federal funds and the trust the federal government has bestowed in West Valley City and the other cities of UTOPIA,” he said.
As we first reported last November, Utah Governor Governor Gary Hebert (R-UT) recommended to NTIA that the broadband stimulus Round 1 application of Utopia be funded.
“This grant means that UTOPIA is finally coming into Perry city,” says Perry Mayor Jerry Nelson. “That’s a reality that has us very excited.” StimulatingBroadband.com