Tag: "Lehi City"

Posted December 15, 2022 by Karl Bode

Whether it is UTOPIA Fiber or the growing number of cities establishing open access fiber network agreements with Strata Networks, Utah continues to be on the cutting edge of developing creative, highly-localized alternatives to entrenched regional monopolies, the first step in genuinely bridging the nation’s stubborn digital divide. Now, officials in American Fork, Utah have struck a new partnership with Strata Networks to build 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps) capable fiber network to improve high-speed Internet access for the city’s 34,000 residents.

Forking Up Competition

According to the project FAQ, the network will be financed via a $25 million bond taken out in 2020 and fully financed through subscriber revenues. 

The network will be open access, allowing numerous local ISPs to come in and compete in layers. For more than a decade, independent studies have found that such models boost competition, resulting in higher quality service and lower prices. Despite this, federal policymakers have routinely turned a blind eye to the concept in federal policymaking. 

In contrast, a growing parade of communities like American Fork are actually listening to the data and embracing the open access concept on a scale previously unseen in the U.S. Increasingly, a growing number of such communities are in Utah.

“Some residents in our community have had little to no options when it comes to Internet service providers. With this open-access model, residents can choose which service works best for them in a truly competitive market,” American Fork Mayor Brad Frost said in the project announcement. “With this approach, and STRATA Networks as our partner,...

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Posted October 26, 2022 by Karl Bode

Lehi City, Utah has broken ground on its new citywide fiber optic broadband network. The network, which city leaders say should take somewhere around three years to complete, will be built on the back of Lehi’s Utilities Department, part of a growing trend of U.S. utilities using an historic infusion of federal funding to expand affordable broadband connectivity.

The Lehi Fiber Network will operate as an open access network, meaning that multiple ISPs will be able to utilize the city’s new infrastructure, providing a much-needed dose of broadband competition to local residents and businesses alike. 

Five ISPs have already committed to providing service over the city-owned fiber, with the first customers expected to see service sometime in early 2023. Lehi’s partner ISPs have yet to specify tier pricing, but data consistently shows that such open access competition routinely drives down costs and improves service quality in regions where it’s adopted. 

After hiring Magellan to conduct a feasibility study, the city in 2020 approved financing the network with a bond it hopes will be fully paid off by broadband subscriber revenues. In 2021, the city announced it had chosen Strata Networks — the largest independent cooperative in Utah — to build and operate the network.

“We hope you’re as impressed with us as we are with you,” Bruce Todd, CEO of Strata Networks, said at the recent groundbreaking ceremony. “We’ve been involved in the broadband Internet industry for over 20 years. Covid changed how we looked at things, it became very important to get Internet to everyone and especially school children.”

With a population of 80,000 residents, city officials told ILSR that the total cost of the network is...

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