Broadband infrastructure is beginning to be as crucial to having an effective city as roads and sewers. The massive need for effective and affordable access to the "information superhighway" makes clear that Orem's investment in the UTOPIA network over a decade ago was a visionary decision. However, since that time, the build-out of the UTOPIA network has stalled, and Orem was saddled with debt from the investment that all Orem residents continue to pay for, while only around 30% of the city has UTOPIA access.
Everyone I have met who has UTOPIA enjoys the service, because it is high-quality and reasonably priced. It's a free-market solution that creates genuine competition between service providers on the open access network in sharp contrast to the monopolistic structure of companies who build their own network and then set whatever rates they want for service, without the risk of competitors.
Since all of Orem's residents pay for UTOPIA, it's time to make sure that all of Orem's residents have UTOPIA access. Current city council member Sam Lentz has proposed a plan that would make it possible to build out the network fully in Orem over the next few years. Once the network is fully built, use payments by internet service providers would create a new stream of revenue for the city to pay off its debt. The best way for us to pay off the UTOPIA debt, and invest in Orem's future, is to build out the network so that all Orem residents can benefit and so the city can return to fully sound financial footing.