UTOPIA Fiber debunks $1M out-of-state dark money campaign bombarding Utah residents with misinformation about its network
Murray, UT—Today, Roger Timmerman, Executive Director & CEO, and Nicole Cottle, Director of Government Affairs, of UTOPIA Fiber held a press conference to debunk a $1M misinformation campaign against the network by a dark money-funded group from Washington, D.C. UTOPIA Fiber, the nation’s largest and most successful community-owned Open Access fiber network, gave the facts about its 22-year history and infrastructure model. The executives also launched UTOPIA Fiber’s Chosen by YOUtah campaign that serves to highlight the critical role Utah residents have played in founding UTOPIA Fiber and shaping the network’s future.
Roger Timmerman, responding to the dark-money group that is run out of Washington, DC, stated, “We’re not sure why this group is spending so much money or who’s funding them. But what we do know is that they are spreading misinformation about UTOPIA Fiber. Our Utah-led organization is the largest, most-successful Open Access fiber network in the United States. We are on the forefront of designing, building, and financing nearly half-a-billion dollars in successful community-owned broadband projects that meet the needs of our residents and introduce real competition and choice into the 21 Utah cities where UTOPIA provides Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) services, as well as in 50 cities for business-class services.”
But among all the success, since the beginning of November, area residents have been the target of a deceptive advertising campaign orchestrated by a dark-money group based in Washington, DC seeking to discredit UTOPIA. “We understand that the dark-money group is spending $1 million on a campaign seeking to undermine the credibility and success of UTOPIA Fiber’s community-owned Open Access fiber connectivity model,” said Timmerman. “It doesn’t make any sense why this group is wasting so much money in an attempt to discredit our network. Thankfully, sales remain consistently strong. It’s nice to see the community rally around UTOPIA Fiber,” he added.
“It comes down to the role of local communities in driving the success of UTOPIA Fiber,” noted Nicole Cottle who joined the network after a decades-long career as a city leader in West Valley. “Utah residents and city leaders continue to demand community-owned networks that offer real choice, enable competition, and deliver reliability and the fastest speeds. Increasingly communities are seeing fiber networks as a vital piece of infrastructure like the roads, airports, and electricity grids. They enable business growth and bridge the digital divide by providing equal access to the entire community, something that’s rather unique in the UTOPIA model,” she added.
UTOPIA Fiber’s inception in 2002 was a direct response to the demand from Utah residents for high-quality, reliable fiber services, which incumbent providers failed to deliver. Unified by a common goal, 11 cities within Utah collaborated to establish UTOPIA Fiber, with the vision to build a system that delivers the fast, affordable, and reliable high-speed fiber service that residents and businesses deserve to have in the modern era.
But like any new model, the cutting edge can be sharp. As the network cut its teeth, it also accumulated $185 million in debt. But in 2009, a new management team including Timmerman was brought in sparking a remarkable turnaround. The company immediately restructured its debt, created new policies and procedures, and doubled down on developing a positive customer experience. And for the last 15 years, every UTOPIA Fiber project has been paid for completely through subscriber revenue. As for the debt, UTOPIA continues to pay back those original 11 cities either on time or ahead of schedule.
“We build the fiber infrastructure, and 15 private-sector internet service providers deliver the service. UTOPIA truly enables the private sector to compete for business. This freedom of choice leads to faster, more reliable service at fair prices,” added Timmerman. He said that providing choice to local communities is something that incumbent providers have failed to deliver to most of these cities even 22 years later.”
UTOPIA’s Success Story
Today, the overwhelming satisfaction and support among cities, communities, and subscribers is driving UTOPIA’s financial success. UTOPIA Fiber has expanded its subscriber base to over 60,000, half of whom joined in the last three to four years, serving approximately 200,000 businesses and homes across more than 50 communities in Utah and the West. Other states and communities across the country look to Utah as the model for how to operate a fiber network successfully and efficiently offering the nation’s fastest internet speeds, up to 10 Gbps for residents and 100 Gbps for businesses and ensuring choice and competition in local Utah communities and beyond.
Chosen by YOUtah
UTOPIA Fiber also announced today its new Chosen by YOUtah campaign. It pays homage to the Utah residents who demanded this community-owned fiber network—with better service and more choice—and acknowledges their pivotal role in the formation and overwhelming success of the Open Access network UTOPIA has built. Through the actual words of subscribers, the campaign powerfully conveys how Utah residents feel about UTOPIA Fiber against the backdrop of monopolistic practices by other incumbent providers and the million-dollar misinformation campaign coming from Washington.
Added Cottle, “UTOPIA Fiber is more than just an infrastructure provider; it’s a community asset that offers unparalleled choice and competition. The Chosen by YOUtah campaign serves as a reflection, both literally through its promotional materials and figuratively through its messaging, that UTOPIA Fiber is a network built for and by Utah residents.”
About UTOPIA Fiber
Created by a group of Utah cities, the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA) is a community-owned fiber optic network that uses the Open Access model to promote competition by giving customers the freedom to choose which telecommunication services they want. With fiber availability to approximately 200,000 businesses and residences in over 50 communities, UTOPIA Fiber is the largest and most successful Open Access network in the United States and enjoys the industry’s highest customer satisfaction scores. Since 2009, the agency has successfully designed, built, and operated nearly half-a-billion dollars worth of fiber projects throughout Utah and the West, including operational partnerships with Idaho Falls, Yellowstone Fiber, and Bountiful Fiber, all of which have been funded by bonds which are paid back through subscriber revenue. For more information visit www.utopiafiber.com.
Harrison Edwards PR
Chief Marketing Officer, UTOPIA Fiber