Utopia FTTH network looks to turn itself around

By Sean Buckley

When the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA) open access Fiber to the Home (FTTH) emerged in 2002, it was heralded as a hero by extending broadband to areas where the incumbents just did not feel they could make a good business case work. But ongoing financial losses and a lower than expected subscriber base, has forced UTOPIA to realign its strategy.

To get its vision off the ground, UTOPIA has asked its 11 member cities to join together to form the Utah Infrastructure Agency, whose goal would be to raise up to $60 million to finish building out its network. Although UTOPIA said in May it required more money to complete the network, this week was the first time it has laid out its new strategy that its member cities still need to approve. In addition, UTOPIA put in a bid to participate in Google’s Fiber Communities program in February.

“This is what we have been working toward for the past two years, ever since I came onboard,” said Todd Marriott, UTOPIA’s executive director. “Under this model, the cities will not be spending any additional money until they are assured of a return on their investment.”

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About Mark Milliman

Mark Milliman is a Principal Consultant at Inphotonics Research driving the adoption and assisting local governments to plan, build, operate, and lease access open-access municipal broadband networks. Additionally, he works with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to increase the value of their intellectual capital through the creation of strategic product plans and execution of innovative marketing strategies. With more than 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry that began at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Mark has built fiber, cable, and wireless networks around the world to deliver voice, video, and data services. His thorough knowledge of all aspects of service delivery from content creation to the design, operation, and management of the network is utilized by carriers and equipment manufacturers. Mark conceived and developed one of the industry's first multi-service provisioning platform and is multiple patent holder. He is active in the IEEE as a senior member. Mark received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
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